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Last ditch talks for £1bn small biz fund

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The National Investment Corporation (NIC) was announced by Gordon Brown last year and efforts to fund the programme are being led by chancellor Alistair Darling and business secretary Peter Mandelson.

But high street and investment banks, who are being asked to contribute to the big money pot are reluctant to get involved, especially after the government slapped new taxes on the sector in the pre-Budget report.

Only banks in which the government has a majority stake have agreed to give money.

According to the Telegraph newspaper, officials are preparing for a final round of “arm-twisting” at meetings scheduled for next week. If these fail, the taxpayer could be forced to foot the bill.

Related article:Banks block Darling’s SME finance plans

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