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ACE backs loan guarantee scheme

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering has welcomed Lord Mandelson’s bank loan guarantee plan for firms.

ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin said: “ACE represents over 800 firms working in the UK construction industry. Around 700 of these are SMEs. The government’s agreement to guarantee up to 50 per cent of up to £20 billion in loans for SMEs is excellent news for these firms. These loans will provide a welcome buffer to allow many firms struggling with falling workloads to see out the current crisis.”

Although ACE welcomed the business secretary’s announcement, the organisation is keen to see the banking sector do much more to provide lending facilities to firms.

“Currently, firms are finding it very difficult to access banking facilities to get them through the current financial crisis,” Mr Ogunshakin explained. “It is critical that the banks take note of Lord Mandelson’s announcement and start lending again to companies of all sizes in our sector.”

He added: “ACE member firms are world beaters across many disciplines. They are long-term viable businesses with strong fundamentals that bring in a huge amount of revenue to the UK, but they do lack liquidity at present. By securing the future of such SMEs, by retaining the skills and expertise contained within them, the UK will bounce back quickly out of recession and into renewed growth.”