By Max Clarke

Chancellor George Osborne’s early morning announcement of an £800 million bank levy is no more than a smoke screen to divert attention from his failure to get banks to agree to Project Merlin according to entrepreneur William Chase.

“It is self-evident to everyone that the important contribution banks can make to the British recovery is to get off their backside and started lending to small businesses,” said Mr Chase, the founder of the Chase Distillery and Tyrrells Crisps.

The Chancellor was hoping to have announced the Project Merlin agreement — it was hoped that Merlin would secure greater bank lending and an agreement over bonus payments - but has been unable to secure support from the banks. Government had hoped to secure pledges of £1.9 billion from banks for business loans.

“The lack of finance for small business — at sensible rate — is the single most important impediment to the British economy continuing to grow,” said Mr Chase.

“The £800 million levy sounds like a lot of money but the figures don’t even begin to stand up to examination if the banks get away without reforming their lending strategy to business.”

Mr Chase is planning to host a ‘business boot camp’ on his Herefordshire farm for British Brands that are hoping to boost their exports.

“The Government should give tax and NI breaks as incentives to businesses to increase exports. Exporting goods is how we will balance the books. Just look at how much support China puts behind their businesses in growing global markets. Whereas, us stiff upper lip Brits just let everybody go first!” said Mr Chase.

Chase Vodka, made from potatoes grown on the family farm, was named The World’s Best Vodka at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition.