By Max Clarke

A Banking Roadshow to improve communication between banks and small businesses is underway, this morning reaching Manchester’s Raddison hotel.

Figures published last month revealed that bank lending to small business had missed the quarterly target set under the Project Merlin agreement more than £2.2 billion.

Banks immediately faced criticism for this shortfall as available credit is essential for the UK recovery, though criticism was soon extended to the Government for making the agreement too ‘woolly’, and for pandering to the banks at the expense of smaller businesses.

The Better Business Finance roadshow features talks by business organisation representatives, including the Forum for Private Business’ chief, Phil Orford, as well as representatives from the banks. It is hoped that by fostering discussion, as well as providing a networking environment for local businesses, lending may be increased.

Lending again missed its target for May and if significant credit is not made more available, the Project Merlin agreement looks set to fail for a second consecutive quarter.

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