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Chris Leslie MP, Labour's Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury, responding to trends in lending figures published by the Bank of England today, said:
“These figures show that bank lending to business continues to fall, shrinking by 3.5 per cent in the last year.
“Year on year net lending to businesses has now fallen in every single month since this Tory-led Government came to office. With British businesses struggling against a double-dip recession made in Downing Street, it is clear that all of the Chancellor’s hype on Project Merlin and ‘credit easing’ counts for nothing.
“Just last weekend on the Andrew Marr programme the Prime Minister promised that ‘how we get banks lending’ was a key challenge for the Government. They are failing their own tests and it is time they took urgent action to kick start the economy.
"Labour is looking at plans for a British Investment Bank to help small businesses and our five point plan for jobs includes tax breaks for small firms taking on extra workers."
Toby Perkins MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Small Business, said:
“Today’s figures show that net lending to businesses has fallen by £16 billion. We need businesses to be able to spur growth and create new jobs, but without being able to access the finance they need to grow this won’t be possible.
“There are real doubts on whether 'credit easing' - details of which were only unveiled recently, five months after being announced - will make a difference to small businesses on the ground. We are clear that the key test for the scheme will be whether it gets finance to responsible, robust businesses who are currently unable to get credit. Ministers’ actions have fallen short of the real action we need to get finance going to businesses and confidence back into the recession-hit economy.”