Sell off the banks to boost small business lending

The Government should sell off banks to increase lending to small businesses, Canterbury and Whitstable MP Julian Brazier said yesterday.

Mr Brazier raised the issue in the House of Commons during Questions to Treasury Ministers.

Hansard 12 Mar 2013: Column 142

Mr Julian Brazier (Canterbury) (Con): In welcoming the funding for lending scheme and the other measures my right hon. Friend mentioned, may I urge him to break up and sell off as soon as possible the publicly owned banks, so that we have more competition on the high street, and constituents of mine who are unable to borrow on good projects have more to choose from?

Danny Alexander: It is right that we own large chunks of two banks, because that was necessary to clear up the mess of the under-regulated, overheated banking system that was created under the present Opposition when the shadow Chancellor was City Minister. We are working as hard as we can to get those banks in good order and we are making progress in the direction that my hon. Friend suggests.

Mr Brazier said today:

“Small businesses must be able to finance new projects and kick-start growth. During the bailouts the banks agreed that they would do this.

“We can’t repair our economy if publicly owned banks are going to drag their feet.

“In Canterbury there are SMEs who come up with excellent projects, only to find banks are using restrictive lending criteria.

“If mainstream banks won’t help small businesses, it’s time to get rid of the taxpayers’ liability,” Mr Brazier concluded.