The Government’s Green Investment Bank is a welcome boost to businesses – but Britain needs more banks to get funding out to businesses, according to a Midland MP.
Lorely Burt (Lib Dem Solihull) said Liberal Democrat MPs and Ministers would be pushing for policies making it easier to set up a new bank, to increase the number of places firms could obtain credit.
She was one of a number of West Midland MPs to speak in a series of debates on the economy and the Government’s legislative programme.
Ms Burt praised the Government for creating the Green Investment Bank, which will invest up to £3 billion in industry, but added: “All that will be to no avail if we cannot sort out the biggest problem still faced by business today: access to finance.”
She said: “Liberal Democrats will be doing all we can on policies to widen the range of banks and lower the almost insurmountable barriers to entry for new banks.”
Ms Burt has criticised calls to make it easier for businesses to fire staff, which were set out in a report by venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft.
But she said reforms to employment legislation were needed to end abuse of the employment tribunal system.
“Liberal Democrats would say that in some areas the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of the employee. Some employees take advantage of and try to play the employment tribunal system, which has become clogged up with cases waiting to be heard, costing time and money and causing stress for all.
“New legislation will put a greater emphasis on conciliation and give employers longer to give underperforming employees a chance, before the spectre of the unfair dismissal tribunal looms.”
Chris White (Con Warwick and Leamington) urged the Government to back manufacturing in order to create jobs.
He said: “Manufacturing is best placed to support the objective of increased employment for a number of reasons. First, manufacturing is strongest in those areas where private sector employment has been weakest. In the Midlands, the North, Scotland and Wales, manufacturing occupies a bigger part of the economy than in London and the South East.
“If we can increase manufacturing growth, it is likely that employment gains will be better spread across the country and we will tackle those parts that have traditionally suffered from structural unemployment.”
Labour MPs accused the Government of ignoring the economic problems of the West Midlands.
Steve McCabe (Lab Selly Oak), also speaking in the Commons, said: “Almost everything that the Government have achieved to date has resulted in unemployment rising and job prospects falling, and youth unemployment being returned to that depressing picture of the ’80s, which wrecked the health and hopes of a generation.”