Green party mayoral candidate Sian Berry has pledged set up a new ‘Bank for London’ which would lend to London’s small and medium-sized business sector.
Berry says the established big banks “have a poor record” in supporting smaller firms, which make up 99 percent of all businesses in the capital, and often take “a cautious approach” when dealing with the sector.
This stance can severely limit a company’s access to funds, denting the prospect of growth and limiting the potential for new jobs.
Berry says her proposed new “ethical” bank would seek to replicate the success of regional banks in Germany which have a more supportive relationship with small and medium-sized businesses.
She said: “It’s not healthy for a tiny number of very large commercial banks to dominate the market, and that’s not how they do things in many other European countries.
“Germany has a successful network of public savings banks, which are owned in trust for the public benefit, run by local stakeholder groups, and lend within a specific geographic area. This idea is long overdue for London, and as Mayor I will lead the way in getting this project off the ground.”
“In recent years, for very good reasons, banking has become a dirty word because people associate it with greed and enrichment at the expense of the rest of society. It’s easy to forget that bank managers were once the most trusted figures in many communities, and how small and medium businesses have suffered since the financial crash because the large commercial banks have failed in their commitment to support them better.”
Londoners will elect a new Mayor and the 25 members of the London Assembly on May 5th. Candidates for Mayor include Conservative Zac Goldsmith, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon, the Green party’s Sian Berry and UKIP’s Peter Whittle.