'Big hitters' to advise ministers on new business bank

Dan Martin
Former editor
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The government has appointed what it describes as five "big hitters" to advise on the creation and operation of the new business bank.

Chaired by Sir Peter Burt, the former chief executive of the Bank of Scotland, the group will look at improving the provision of finance to small and medium sized companies which the business bank is being set up to deal with. 

The new appointments are:

  • Lucy Armstrong, chief executive of the Alchemists, chair of the CBI's SME Council and chair of Capital for Enterprise 
  • Brendan Barber, former general secretary of the Trades Union Congress
  • Caroline Green, finance director at Metalrax Group
  • Stephen Welton, chief executive of the Business Growth Fund
  • Baroness Patience Wheatcroft, non-executive director of Fiat SpA and of St James's Place, and advisory board member of Huawei and Pelham Bell Pottinger

Business secretary Vince Cable said: "The business bank's advisory group, chaired by Sir Peter Burt, is a great example of the kind of modern leadership we are trying to encourage in British companies today. Half of the group are women and half of the group are directly involved in SME finance.

"The business bank is on schedule and the appointments today take it one step closer towards delivering more long-term funding for SMEs.

"The government already has in place a range of measures to help small and medium sized businesses access lending in the short-term. But this new institution will fill a vacuum in medium to long term credit that many viable small businesses are struggling to raise to grow and create jobs."

The government has committed £1bn to the bank so far and ministers are looking to boost the funding through joint investment with the private sector. 


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