James Moore: Small business loans? You can't give them away

Outlook Poor old Vince Cable. On the day he announced plans for a Government-backed "business bank", along came the Public Accounts Committee to spoil the party.

An existing £1.4bn scheme designed to boost the economies of struggling English regions has so far paid out only £60m, the committee found. It seems that the Government hasn't fared any better at getting financing into the hands of small businesses than the banks.

Perhaps it could take a leaf out of their book? Banks have been telling everyone how ethical they plan to be in future, which, in theory, means oily commission-grabbing salesmen will be looking for new employment.

Once that Threadneedle Street jobcentreplus has found the Bank of England a new Governor, perhaps it could help by pointing them in the direction of the new business bank. After all, given how successful bank salesmen have been at pushing junk like payment protection insurance, imagine how good they could be at selling something useful, like government-backed loans to small firms put off dealing with private sector banks. Just a thought.

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