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Budget 2015 features British Business Bank ‘Help to Grow’ Growth Loans and Small Business Referrals

The Chancellor’s Budget today highlighted two significant developments for British Business Bank programmes.

Alongside Budget, British Business Bank has now published a Request for Proposals for a pilot initiative to support ambitious smaller businesses looking for Growth Finance.

Originally announced in February 2015 by the Prime Minister under the ‘Help to Grow’ banner, the pilot is seeking innovative and workable proposals from lenders looking to provide debt finance between £0.5m and £2m.

Keith Morgan, British Business Bank CEO, said:

“We have identified a clear gap in the market and are seeking innovative solutions to address it. The flexibility we have designed into our Request for Proposals should enable a range of new ideas and approaches that work both for finance providers and the dynamic high-growth smaller businesses that need this essential finance.”

The Budget also highlighted that the British Business Bank would shortly be calling for Expressions of Interest from credit reference agencies and finance platforms to become designated to receive data from banks. This is a key part of the implementation strategy for the Government’s reforms to improve competition in finance markets for smaller businesses.

Opening up access to credit data held by the big banks will increase the reliability of credit scores, enabling alternative finance providers to make better-informed decisions about finance provision to smaller businesses.

In future, if a small business is rejected for finance by a bank, the bank will be obliged to offer the business a referral to an online finance platform. These will give alternative finance providers the opportunity to offer viable businesses the finance they need.

Andrew van der Lem, British Business Bank’s Managing Director for Communications and Information, said:

“Helping smaller businesses get the right finance for their needs is of vital importance to the UK economy. These measures we’re taking will make it much easier for smaller businesses to find out about the range of finance products available to them and increase competition in the market.”