Opinion

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Why Britain needs a Proper Lending Corporation

3 Mins

Now before you think I want to jump into bed with one of my mortal enemies, just follow my train of thought. 

As far as I can tell, quantitative easing involves the Bank of England “printing” a load of cash, bunging it in the direction of private sector financial institutions, with the goal being that they in turn lend it to businesses so they can expand, and by doing so create growth in the economy. 

Simple, eh? So far, our bid to escape from recession has seen something like £200bn supposedly pumped in our direction. 

However, if you read and believe the newspapers, it seems the banks didn’t really get into the spirit of things and held on to the cash. In short, it didn’t work. 

But, it looks like they are considering doing it again. Well, how about going about it in a completely different way? The Bank of England could cut out the pin-striped suited middle man and somehow deliver the money to the small and medium-sized businesses that need it and would be only too happy to spend it on expanding their operations and workforces. 

And, if the idea of handing the money over directly to people who need it is ruled out on the grounds of, well simplicity, we could go back to my idea of someone like me setting up a bank! 

Basically, create a bank called PLC (Proper Lending Corporation), run by business people who understand what businesses really need, give the Bank of England a stake and let the PLC start lending out the money.

Now this may seem to be fag-packet economics to the “experts” who got us into this mess in the first place, but some of the best, and simplest, ideas start this way.

Of course, I’ll never actually move over to the “Dark Side” in the City, but I’d definitely give my complete backing to a PLC-style bank that helps businesses.

Charlie Mullins launched Pimlico Plumbers in 1979 with just a bag of tools and an old van bought at auction. The company now has more than 133 professional plumbers, 35 support staff and a £15m turnover.

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