HSBC is to make almost £6bn in new lending available to small businesses.

As part of its ‘Business of Growth’ report, the bank has allocated funds of between £100m and £200m to all 52 of its local business centres to help get finance directly to businesses across the UK. Available later this year, the funds will be open to new and existing UK domiciled businesses with turnover of up to £30m.

The announcement was cautiously welcomed by retail property specialists Christie & Co.

Director and head of business mortgage at Christie Finance Nick Baker said: “Whilst HSBC’s announcement is undoubtedly welcome news, it is the stringent criteria being applied to such loans, especially overcautious debt servicing tests which remains an issue – not the availability of capital. So, while the funding will hit the mark, it in some ways misses the point.”