Chancellor Alastair Darling revealed today he has securedaround £4bn of lending for UK businessesfrom the European Investment Bank (EIB) up to 2011.
This comes a week after the government said it would attemptto ‘smooth communications’ in the hope of making some of the EIB’srecently-announced credit facility available to British businesses.
Several UKbanks have already signalled their interest in securing around £1bn a year fromthe EIB. Other financial institutions that already receive loans have committedto negotiating additional finance, the government said in a statement.
Darling, who was “delighted” by this latest commitment,said: “We need to make sure that they [SMEs] have access to the loans andcapital they need to help their businesses grow and develop.”
Earlier this autumn as the effects of the credit crunchbegan to snowball into something more sinister, the EIB announced it wasraising the level of lending available to SMEs by 50% compared to 2007, as partof a lending envelope worth €30bn (£24m).
The bank also said it would simplify its lending processes,financing up to 100% of the intermediary’s intervention instead of 50% ofproject cost and setting no limitation on the purchase of used fixed assets –previously set at 25% – among other things.