Last week’s poll: the government’s new business bank

The government claims that its new business bank could boost UK industry by supporting up to £10bn of new business lending. Is this the right way to stimulate the UK economy?

Our poll around the Coalition’s plans for a new bank set up to lend to small businesses, announced last week by business secretary Vince Cable at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference, showed scepticism among our readers. The largest proportion of respondents, 44 per cent, chose the option saying that without more details about how the bank will work, it’s unclear whether it will have any impact on its targeted lenders and on the wider economy; the next-largest group, 35 per cent, believed that the government should not set up a ‘middle-man’ organisation to lend to lenders, but rather should simply invest directly in promising businesses. A further 14 per cent said that the government would do better to encourage the existing banks to lend by removing regulations that the institutions say are preventing them from extending credit. Only 6 per cent chose the option supporting Dr Cable’s proposal, saying that the bank would provide access to investment and would also boost confidence.

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Do you agree with the results of this poll? Are people right to be sceptical about Dr Cable’s plans? With one of the UK’s largest banks already in public ownership, should this be the designated ‘business bank’? Let us know below.