Fabian Demicoli

Take example…businesses can be helped

 GRTU Director General, Vincent Farrugia, criticised Budget 2009 as being too short on SMEs. Mr Farrugia said that it is fallacious for Government to continue to finance simply through current account revenue.

The Economic situation Malta is facing is the result of exceptional circumstances in our leading markets over-seas and the financing to sustain inactive packages for the economy to continue to grow should have been sought through extraordinary financial means.

He quoted as an example what the UK Chancellor Alistair darling has just proposed this week to boost small businesses. The UK's small and medium businesses stand to benefit from up to £4bn in funds from European-backed loans.

Ministers have struck a deal with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to bring forward the funding to help small companies weather the economic crisis.

However, it will be up to each bank to decide whether to apply for the funds – £1bn a year for the next four years.

At Commons question time, the Chancellor is reported to have said: "It doesn't mean that everyone who comes through the front door of a bank gets what they want on the terms they want.

"But I really do think it is important that British banks play their part. We, on behalf of the taxpayer, have put a lot of money into the banking system because we recognise its importance.

"They, in turn, have to recognise the importance, not just to the country but to banks themselves, in ensuring that small and medium-sized enterprises get the support they need."

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