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Bank Lending

Volume 552: debated on Tuesday 6 November 2012

21. What recent assessment he has made of the effect on economic growth of the level of bank lending to businesses. (126540)

As I said to the hon. Member for Sefton Central (Bill Esterson), the Government and the Bank of England are taking action to improve the flow of credit to business. The £80 billion funding for lending scheme is designed to incentivise banks to maintain and boost their lending to businesses and households.

According to the Bank of England, net lending by the banks to small and medium-sized businesses fell by a further £2.4 billion in the three months to this August. Does not the Government’s failure to address that decline show exactly why the IMF downgraded GDP estimates for Britain by 0.6% for this year, and a further 0.3% for next year?

The hon. Gentleman calls for action, but I would have thought that the funding for lending scheme was precisely the type of action that he wanted. The Bank of England has been clear that, in the absence of funding for lending, it was quite possible that rates and lending would have declined because of the turbulence and anxiety in the eurozone. Actually, it has been an important factor in getting money to businesses. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will welcome that.