24 July 2012
Cable slams bank lending as Make it in Great Britain gets underway
Business secretary Vince Cable has hit out at "very disappointing" bank lending to SME manufacturers as he officially opened the Make It in Great Britain exhibition.
Cable said: "The medium-sized companies are struggling and the banks are not helping, particularly with exports... There's no point disguising the fact that if you talk to all these guys they'll tell you they can't get banks to lend to them."
The comments came as Cable cut the ribbon on the Make It in Great Britain exhibition, which will show off UK-built goods to Science Museum visitors during the 2012 Olympics.
Coca-Cola, Rolls-Royce, Airbus and McLaren are among the exhibitors with displays including a Formula 1 car, aircraft landing gear and a tube carriage.
Cable used his opening address to pledge commitment to a formal industrial strategy to boost manufacturing growth.
One key element of the strategy will be relieving shortage in engineering skills, the business secretary commented.
The Make it in Great Britain exhibition aims to help by inspiring children visiting the museum to consider careers in manufacturing, said ministerial colleague Mark Prisk.
Boosting lending to the manufacturing community was another key target for an industrial strategy, stressed Cable.
Government-backed loan guarantees had delivered some success, he reflected. However, Cable voiced "massive frustration" about the overall level of bank lending to the sector.
Cable said: "The one thing we realise is the nearer we get to it the more difficult it is. RBS is a massive bank, it's complicated, there is bad debt stuffed up in the middle of it. Just getting it lending as a clean, new bank is difficult. It's massively frustrating and the one area where we haven't yet succeeded."
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