Has B&Q become a builders' merchant?

Published:  10 December, 2012

B&Q-owner Kingfisher has signed up to a scheme disclosed in the Autumn Statement to sell supplies and equipment through B&Q and Screwfix on credit.

The pilot will begin early next year through B&Q's Tradepoint business and Screwfix. Kingfisher will pay the government a 2% fee to underwrite the loan.

Kingfisher chief executive Ian Cheshire said that the retailer would get access to the government's balance sheet at a better rate than it would a bank. The move allows tradespeople to gain credit even if they would have been too small or too new to qualify under normal banking rules.

Mr Cheshire said: "By cutting out the banks, you can unlock that credit into the economy."

The scheme was introduced amid frustration over subdued lending to businesses.

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