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Clegg outlines vision for black business after new report

DEPUTY CALL: Nick Clegg has asked banks to do more to help BME businesses (PA)

DEPUTY PRIME Minister Nick Clegg has demanded banks do more to support ethnic minority businesses.

Speaking to senior banking executives and BME entrepreneurs in Manchester, the Deputy Prime Minister called on British banks to improve their efforts to ensure that business support and advice reaches the widest range of ethnic minority businesses.

He said: “It is vital that all businesses have fair access to viable finance as the country looks to rebuild the economy.”

The Liberal Democrat leader’s words came after a new report he commissioned in November 2011 revealed that there are still substantial barriers preventing BME groups from accessing business loans.

As a result of the findings, the Government has agreed with the British Bankers’ Association that the banking industry will commit to a series of measures to improve access to finance for ethnic minority business groups.

This includes collecting data through independent research, for the first time, on the experiences of ethnic minority businesses seeking finance.

Clegg said: “I welcome the fact that the report finds no evidence of racial discrimination, and I am pleased to see the banking industry has agreed to a range of measures to address the various factors that have prevented some entrepreneurs from getting loans.

"I am particularly glad to see the banks commit to independent research on ethnic minority businesses and their experience of accessing finance so that they can monitor the situation."

He added: "This report is a good start, and a valuable statement of intent, but there is much more to be done to make sure that entrepreneurs from ethnic minorities have a fair chance to achieve their goals.”

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