Bank Lending and Credit (Businesses)

Part of Chancellor of the Exchequer – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 6th December 2011.

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Photo of George Osborne George Osborne The Chancellor of the Exchequer 2:30 pm, 6th December 2011

My hon. Friend is right that the national loan guarantee scheme does not add to the debt or deficit; the guarantees are contingent liabilities. The previous Government had a contingent liability scheme for lending between banks, but this is a contingent liability scheme for lending by banks to small businesses. We are following the model of the European Investment Bank, which has a small programme to lend to smaller businesses in Britain. We are using that model to try to reduce interest costs for small businesses, using the credibility of the low interest rates at which we can borrow to deliver those low interest rates to businesses.