Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (March 14th 2013) gave his personal support to Ed Miliband’s call for the setting up of locally based Regional Banks.
Labour’s Leader, speaking to the British Chambers of Commerce conference, said he saw these banks as a ‘vital tool’ in boosting regional investment and helping regional business.
The Labour Leader wants a network of 20 German-style regional banks that could be backed with public cash to get badly needed funds to firms.
They would work alongside a British Investment Bank set to be backed by £200 million of taxpayers’ cash which would allow it to lend £2billion.
Regional lenders would have a “civic duty” to promote long-term growth rather than simply chase a quick profit.
“This is a key development in Labour’s approach to boosting the economy and breaking from the ‘slash and burn’ austerity approach of the present coalition government.
“I have heard time and time again from local businesses about how the existing banking network fails to respond to requests for investment lending, with local managers, no matter how sympathetic, unable to help due to orders from above from their City of London masters – people only really interested in speculation on the money markets – not industry.
“Even the coalition has dimly recognised this, but despite their pleading, their efforts to boost lending have failed, with a £4.5 billion drop in the last quarter of 2012 alone.
“Setting up Regional Banks, using a model already working well in Germany, will mean banks on our doorsteps, and staffed by people who know their region and know the strengths and weaknesses of our local economy, and able to intervene with targeted lending and long term support for key areas such as – on Teesside – chemicals and marine and process engineering.
“This is a development which I know will be hugely popular with Teesside business when the coming Labour Government sets it up. Roll on that day!”