British Business Bank

Treasury written question – answered at on 18 March 2019.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to increase funding for the British Business Bank to match the £2.1 billion invested by the European Investment Bank in the UK in 2017.

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Businesses and infrastructure projects raise finance from the private market, with important UK government support.

The European Investment Bank Group provides finance alongside other market participants. In 2017, the European Investment Bank, which predominantly invests in infrastructure projects, invested EUR 1.84bn in the UK. Its SME risk-finance focused subsidiary, the European Investment Fund, invested EUR 61.05m in UK operations in 2017.

As we leave the EU, we continue to actively explore options for a future relationship with the European Investment Bank Group, and the government has a range of existing tools in place to support infrastructure and SME finance, including the £40 billion UK Guarantees Scheme for infrastructure projects. At Spring Statement, the government published a consultation on its existing tools for supporting infrastructure finance and the way they are delivered.

The British Business Bank supports access to finance for smaller businesses. Its programmes are supporting more than £5.9bn of finance to over 82,000 businesses. The British Business Bank has capacity to make venture capital commitments this year exceeding the combined average annual commitments from the European Investment Fund and British Business Bank in the three years preceding the referendum. In addition, at Budget 2018, the Chancellor announced if no future relationship with the EIB Group is in place when the UK leaves the EU, the government will provide the British Business Bank with new resources to enable it to make up to £200m additional investment in venture capital and growth finance in 2019/20. The government stands ready to deliver its commitment in all circumstances.

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