The objectives and operational plan for the British Business Bank, revealed earlier today by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in a strategy update, has been broadly welcomed today by ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).
Manos Schizas, Senior Economic Analyst at ACCA, said: ‘We know that many will be disappointed to find that the bank will not be lending directly to businesses. We are not. It is good to see that BIS has instead given the Bank a clear remit to reshape the market by supporting new products and new finance providers.’
ACCA still believes that some details need to be clarified. The global body for accountants said it hopes that the Bank will be allowed to use the £2.9 billion of commitments it has inherited from existing schemes as it sees fit, and will have simple reporting lines to government and parliament so that it won’t be distracted from its mission.
ACCA acknowledges that Autumn 2014, when the Bank will finally be spun off from BIS, may not seem soon enough to many stakeholders. However, the ACCA notes that the Business Bank is not meant to provide a short-term intervention, but rather a central plank to the UK’s long-term industrial policy.
Manos Schizas explained: ‘The Bank needs to become an institution around which entirely new markets are built – it will need to still be there 50 years from now. How much lending or investment it facilitates in year one is completely beside the point, although I appreciate that the government can’t be seen to take this view. We can only hope that Sir Peter Burt and his Advisory Group will.'
ACCA believes that, once pilots are complete later in 2013, the Bank’s work programme needs to be matched with initiatives to engage investors and secure deal flow for the Bank. Because of this, ACCA welcomes the initiative to consolidate advice for growing businesses under the bank’s brand.
Manos Schizas concluded: 'We hope that professional accountants can do much of the Bank’s marketing for it – their links to business are deeper and stronger than those of government. In the long term, however, it’s also important to see how the profession can work with intermediaries to provide a steady stream of high-quality referrals.'
- Business Bank Strategy Update - The Government has today published a strategy update on the business bank, which:
- quantifies the resources which the bank will use
- outlines the range of activities of the bank
- sets out key milestones for its operations.