Cable says Funding for Lending Scheme is failing to help SMEs

Tim Wallace
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BANKS could be forced to publish small business lending data for each region on a weekly basis, Vince Cable will say this morning, in an effort to shame them into lending more to firms.

The business secretary will argue that the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) – which gives cheap funds to banks to lend onto the private sector – is failing to benefit SMEs, with the cash only getting through to mortgage borrowers and big businesses.

As part of the scheme banks publish total lending data, but only on a quarterly basis and not broken down more closely.

“I have contacted the banks demanding much more transparency: gross and net lending to SMEs, and overall lending, disaggregated to institution, branch and – preferably – constituency or postcode level,” the business secretary will say.

“It should be shared not just with the government but with parliament, which holds the government to account. In the absence of cooperation, we shall seek a regulatory solution.”