Autumn Statement: £900m boost for small businesses

In today’s Autumn Statement, the chancellor will have to admit that not everything is going to be as rosy as he’d previously hoped.

But as Labour MPs rub their hands together at the prospect of his discomfiture, Osborne has managed to hold back a couple of decent announcements that could throw Labour’s response off course somewhat.

Last night Osborne announced £900m of extra funding for lending for small businesses in the UK.

The money will go to the government-backed British Business Bank, which was set up in 2012 and championed by Business Secretary Vince Cable.

The £900m figure is not an especially big one, but it will be a headache for Miliband and co, as Labour has repeatedly sought to drive home the message that it is the party of small business.

Osborne said he wants to refocus the British Business Bank’s lending programme to focus more on small and medium-sized businesses, an area which has seen lower lending rates, despite economic growth, the Financial Times reports.

Cable said to the FT that the additional £900m for the British Business Bank was “another big step forward” and said the bank “is delivering the finance small businesses need to grow and create jobs”.

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