Lies, damned lies and statistics?

Earlier this week a news item in the Telegraph said that the government had given away £177.8m in loan guarantees in the year to 31 March, under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme (EFG) and its predecessor, the Small Firms Loan Guarantee scheme. This was less than the £205m of the previous year.

Now growingbusiness.co.uk reports that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is saying the Telegraph figures do not include any of the loans guaranteed under the EFG, but  BIS is yet to confirm how many EFG loans were approved before March 31.

Growingbusiness also quotes British Bankers’ Association figures claiming that lending to small businesses by high street banks increased by £153m in May. ‘However,’ says the website, ‘official figures from the Bank of England showed that new lending to companies actually contracted in both April and May’.

In tough times, getting extra insight into the state of the economy and one’s financial options is crucial.  The problem is whom to believe.

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