In a spritely move from Vince Cable, details have been released about the Small Business Bank today rather than tomorrow. The bank has been talked about for sometime, but few details were ever given past the fact the government would be earmarking money for it. Finally there is now some more concrete information on the scheme, although it’s completion and implementation is still some time off.
So, what was announced exactly? Well, a document was released and here are the key points:
- Support the development of diverse debt and equity finance markets for businesses, promoting competition and increased supply through new finance providers;
- Increase the provision of finance to viable but underserved businesses, in particular improving the provision of long term finance;
- Bring together the management of the Government’s existing business finance schemes, creating a single portfolio and simplifying access for businesses;
- Consolidate the provision of and increase the awareness of available support and advice to high growth businesses and those needing specialist support;
- Function on commercial terms to use taxpayers’ funds most effectively.
What does that mean exactly? Well, overall it looks like the Small Business Bank will streamline the numerous schemes already on the go. The list of them is quite long and has therefore been a bit confusing and time-consuming to really get the most out of them. It is also going to ensure more businesses can access funding and increase the amount that is available long-term, while also hoping to use government money more effectively.
Essentially it’s a streamlining of the government’s policy towards small business, which for the most part has seemed to be noise rather than a concerted effort. Now £3.9 million has been set aside to hopefully really get something good going. With something more structured and that will hopefully stop the back and forth bickering between Cable and George Osborne, it’s possible we may seem some improvements for small businesses.
Unfortunately though, we’ve got a bit of a wait. The actual structure of the bank has yet to be finalised. The real work will begin in April of this year, and if all goes to plan, the bank should be 100% good to go in the third quarter of 2014. In that time, we may see a few developments from the bank, but we’ll have to wait and see.
This scheme has the chance to do a lot of good so hopefully the process to its completion runs smoothly and we aren’t left hanging around for too long.