Lending to Small Businesses

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Business, Innovation and Skills – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 18th July 2013.

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Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills 9:30 am, 18th July 2013

I am a great fan of the German Sparkasse system, and it is a pity that we never had it in Britain. If the hon. Gentleman looks back on the record of the previous Labour Government, he will recall that in 2000, they had a report prepared for them on the inadequacies of British business lending and the enormous problems created by the fact that four banks accounted for all the business. The Government of the day, despite urging from myself and others, did absolutely nothing about the problem. As a result, we went into the banking crisis with massively over-concentrated ownership and damaged banks that are no longer able to perform properly. We are seeking reform, supporting new challenger banks though the business bank, and dealing with a problem that should have been dealt with a decade ago.