British Business Bank assists more than 30,000 small businesses

According to its inaugural results, announced last week at the Houses of Parliament, the British Business Bank (BBB) has lent nearly £800m to more than 30,000 small and mid-sized companies over the last year.

The bank was set up in September 2012 with £1bn, by the Business Secretary Vince Cable, to fund start-ups and growing businesses in the UK. It works with 80 different finance providers, from venture capitals funds to the traditional banks, to lend to SMEs who may be struggling to access finances from traditional sources.

At the Houses of Parliament event last week, Mr Cable announced that there are approximately 5 million small and mid-sized businesses in the UK that employ 25m people.

Cable has also recently criticised the Bank of England for blocking reforms to lending rules that currently favour mortgages over loans to small businesses. He said the Bank refused to bend rules to favour small businesses because they were set internationally and could not be amended.

"Lending to smaller businesses is still too concentrated, and lenders have been incentivised to cross-sell products rather than support companies in their local communities," he said. "But the British Business Bank is already playing a part in accelerating change."

Director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, Adam Marshall, said: "Vince Cable's remarks are encouraging to all those who believe that access to finance still bedevils many new and growing companies across the UK."

Marshall said the business bank should be "radically scaled up" and added: "It must get closer to UK businesses and their needs, and have the ability to work directly with companies in some instances if it is to become a truly game-changing institution. Scaling up and strengthening the business bank must be a top priority in future years, no matter who forms Britain's next government."


Jul 1, 2014
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