News & Blog

Read the latest business news, blogs and thought leadership articles from our members, as well as updates on the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce's work in the city.

News & Blog


Posted: 5th January 2017

Opportunity to create over 5,100 extra jobs from growth by Scottish SME community by 2021, research finds

  • Additional lending to SMEs in Scotland could generate extra £2 billion boost per annum for Scottish economy, if invested in productive potential
  • Successful credit applications by small businesses reach highest proportion since records began, but still 30 per cent of SMEs in the UK choose not to apply for a loan
  • New service on Barclays Mobile Banking app reduces time to secure a loan to under an hour

As new research uncovers over 5,100 extra jobs waiting to be created from Scottish SMEs by 2021, Barclays has launched a mobile business lending service capable of providing instant loans to businesses.

Barclays  Jamie Grant - Head of Corporate Banking for Barclays Scotland & Northern Ireland.    Neil Hanna Photography 07702 246823

Though almost a third of SMEs are not planning on applying for a loan despite acknowledging it would boost their business, the research shows that 64 per cent of SMEs’ turnover would increase if they successfully secured the right loan, which could generate over 5,100 extra jobs in Scotland over the next four years.

In response, Barclays has created mobile loans for businesses, making SME loans and overdrafts instantly available to its client base through the Barclays Mobile Banking app. Barclays is the first UK bank to offer the service, which radically reduces the time taken to get a loan from a matter of weeks to under an hour.

The research found that:

  • Across the UK, 30 per cent of SMEs have decided not to apply for a loan despite thinking it would boost their business.
  • SMEs who have applied for funding expect the lending process to take at least five weeks, whereas for many the funds are now available on their mobile, pre-assessed, so they can access funding within one hour.
  • Removing the myth that banks don’t want to lend by making loans and overdrafts available instantly on smartphones could deliver over 5,100 extra jobs in Scotland by 2021, generated from growth by Scottish SMEs. This would mean £2 billion economic boost per annum for Scotland’s economy, if invested in productive potential.
  • Of all the regions in the UK, London would generate the most new jobs from extra lending to SMEs, with the South East and East Midlands in second and third place respectively. In terms of economic boost, Scotland would have the third largest growth (£2bn) behind London (£2.6bn) and North West (£2.3bn).

Jamie Grant, Head of Business and Corporate Banking for Barclays Scotland, said: “We recognise that some businesses are cautious about applying for a loan, whilst many more simply do not have the time.

“Our new, pre-assessed lending gives customers the ability to see how much they could borrow on their mobile and we can get that money to them more quickly than ever so they can invest in and focus on running their businesses.”

Brexit presents new reasons to lend

The research also found that one in five SMEs believe Brexit is impacting their current or future funding requirements. Of those, the most common reasons cited were a need to start exporting to new, non-EU markets, Brexit economic uncertainty and a need to replace current employees who are EU citizens. A further one in ten (12 per cent) SMEs did not know whether they would be impacted by Brexit.

However, a quarter (24 per cent) of SMEs believe it will be harder to secure a loan in 2017, with Brexit causing economic/political uncertainty and global economic uncertainty cited as the main reasons.

Jamie Grant continued: “Since the EU Referendum our appetite for lending has not diminished and we continue to lend to an SME in the UK every four minutes. We want to help SMEs in Scotland be confident in their future business plans, including looking at new opportunities to export. We are particularly determined to reach out to those businesses who believe lending will be more difficult next year to see where we can help.”

Pictured: Jamie Grant, Head of Business and Corporate Banking, Barclays Bank, Scotland & Northern Ireland

Neil Hanna Photography

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
Read more here