Lloyds pledges extra support to ensure British business prospers

The promises form part of the bank’s Helping Britain Prosper campaign, which was launched last year to help bolster the nation’s economy, and its SME Charter, a separate initiative to support small firms.

The latest addition to Helping Britain Prosper commits the bank to supporting an additional 5,000 businesses to trade internationally and Lloyds will work with UK Trade & Investment to encourage small firms to tap into international markets over the next three years.

The bank has also announced that it would help 1,000 UK start-ups to become £1m-turnover businesses by 2018 as part of its SME Charter.

These young firms will be offered mentoring, networking and investment opportunities, Lloyds said, and the aim is to spread the support across a wide cross-section of industries.

Lloyds will also grow its net lending to SMEs by least £1bn per year, according to the SME Charter and last year, it said that £50m would be funnelled into the UK small housebuilders to build 60,000 new homes. That target has now been reduced to £35m.

Its previous digital skills target has also been adjusted, as has the number of businesses it previously pledged to help trade internationally.

However, it has met targets to help one in five start-ups get off the ground, and supports bank accounts for one in four social enterprises.

Group chief executive Antonio Horta-Osario said: “We believe no other bank is better placed to help Britain prosper. We are proud of what we have achieved so far but know there is a lot more hard work ahead.”