British Business Bank at the heart of new European funding initiative

The British Business Bank and the European Investment Fund have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding which will help facilitate a closer working relationship between the organisations in the area of smaller business finance.

The Memorandum of Understanding outlines a number of possible areas for collaboration, including support for high growth potential smaller businesses through the Bank’s Help to Grow programme.

The initiative was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as part of a package of more than £6bn of support for UK SMEs and infrastructure projects, which builds on the £44bn of guarantees and other finance support the Government already offers to help UK businesses and projects get off the ground.

By working closely with the European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund the Government will ensure that as many UK projects and smaller businesses as possible are able to access financing from the European Fund for Strategic Investment.

Keith Morgan, British Business Bank CEO, said:

“We are pleased to be signing this important Memorandum of Understanding with the European Investment Fund. This will enable us to strengthen our relationship with the EIF, bringing opportunities for closer collaboration in supporting the growth of smaller businesses and the UK economy as a whole.”

Pier Luigi Gilibert, CEO of the European Investment Fund, said:

“I am convinced that the Memorandum of Understanding which we are signing today will serve to further our cooperation with the British Business Bank. It reflects our joint effort to support small- and medium-sized companies which are an important driver for growth and jobs in the UK as well as across Europe. In addition, this agreement is a good example of our intention to strengthen the cooperation with national promotional institutions across Europe.”

The Chancellor said:

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy and ensuring they have the finance they need to grow and create jobs is a key part of our long term plan.

“We have already made great progress in backing small business and my Summer Budget supported SMEs even more by increasing the Annual Investment Allowance and the Employment Allowance – but there is much more to do. Part of this is making sure we reverse the decades-long underinvestment in our nation’s infrastructure.

“That’s why I am pleased that we are joining up with the European Investment Bank to generate significantly increased access to finance for small firms and infrastructure projects.”

European Commission Vice-President Katainen said:

“I am delighted that the UK has announced £6 billion – nearly €8.5 billion – of co-financing for the European Fund for Strategic Investments projects. This is the biggest announcement yet and will have a big impact on SMEs and infrastructure in the UK. The Investment Plan for Europe is moving into high gear.”