Miliband Pledges New U.K. Regional Banks

Opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband will pledge the creation of a network of U.K. regional banks to lend to businesses if his party wins power in 2015.

Speaking at the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference in London at 11.30 a.m. today, Miliband will propose that new institutions be set up that only operate within a defined area. They would focus on lending to businesses.

“We need a regional banking system, serving each and every region of the country,” Miliband will say, according to his office. “Not banks that like to say ‘no,’ but banks that know your region and your business.”

Business groups including the BCC complain that a lack of lending to small companies as banks avoid risk and rebuild their balance sheets is holding back growth. Business Secretary Vince Cable, due to speak at the conference after 1 p.m., is setting up a government-backed business bank to try to increase the availability of funds.

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