VINCE Cable attacked banks yesterday for not lending enough to small firms –?though he insisted he was not a socialist and believes in the market economy.
He said that in many cases, the most useful thing the government could do was to “get out of the way”, adding that the coalition government was going to halt red tape.
“I sometimes find myself described in the unfriendly press as some kind of socialist,” a label he dismissed. “I am a liberal. I am a free trader. I believe in open markets.”
But his plans to force state-owned banks to lend more were slammed by the Institute for Economic Affairs. A spokesman said: “Should the banks be cajoled into lending by the government and then those loans ‘go bad’ the government will have no option but to bail them out again.”
Cable also said he had been “persuaded” the deficit requires immediate attention, despite previously arguing spending cuts should be left until after the recovery has solidified.
Speaking at Cass Business School, Cable denied he holds a “grudge against the City” but admitted he wants to shift the centre of the UK economy away from the Square Mile.
He also reiterated his commitment to a banking levy, attacked “greed” and said that making Britain “a good place to do business” again sometimes “means standing up to business” and fighting cartels.