Small business sector shows steady growth

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The Independent Online
MORE than 225,000 new small businesses were set up during the first half of 1994, with a wider geographical spread than at any time for four years, a new survey showed yesterday, writes Robert Chote.

The news was accompanied by figures from the British Bankers' Association showing that the large banks advanced pounds 1.8bn in mortgage loans in July. That was 4 per cent up on the previous month, but the BBA said the figure would probably have fallen had it not been for seasonal factors.

John Ecklin, the BBA's director of statistics, said mortgage lending was below levels seen a year earlier because building societies had regained some of their market share from the banks. 'The overall mortgage market . . . is probably continuing its slow recovery, though the reduction in approvals this month is disappointing.'

Barclays Bank's Small Business Bulletin reported that the number of small business start- ups in the first half of the year increased more than 10 per cent on the same period a year earlier.

'While this is good news, it is likely that we will see a much more steady pattern of growth in the small business sector over the coming months,' David Lavarack, Barclays' head of Small Business Services, said.

The number of firms going to the wall in England and Wales fell from 11,970 in the first quarter to 10,610 in the second, according to separate figures from KPMG Peat Marwick, the accountants.

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