I was very happy to hear that the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills has given independence to the British Business Bank. The Bank has been a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, and its independence represents an important development in providing finance to small and medium-sized businesses.
Before being given its new independence, the Bank was run from within the Department and, in the 12 months to June 2014, helped provide £829m of lending and investment to small UK firms, taking the total number of companies helped by the Bank to over 35,000. It builds on previous government schemes of supporting venture capital and promoting lending diversity. High levels of investment are a powerful way to grow our economy and strengthen our position globally, and with nearly a billion pounds put into businesses last year, the British Business Bank is becoming ever more successful. The fact that the Dutch Parliament has recently voted to create its own institution based on our model is testament to its success.