By Marcus Leach

Lloyds Banking Group have announced the lending of a further £12 billion to the UK's small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in 2012.

The amount, which aims to continue bolstering business confidence, as well as increasing growth, is above the amount previously agreed as part of Project Merlin.

"We want firms to know that as and when they need to borrow, we are ready and waiting to lend," said John Maltby, group director, Lloyds Banking Group.

"We are committing to lend at least £12bn next year, focusing on small businesses that are the lifeblood of our economy.

"There are no caps and no quotas - we will simply lend where the money is needed."

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