Do we need a British Investment Bank?
By Claire West
IPPR, the Institute for Public Policy Research has produced a detailed blueprint for what a British Investment Bank should look like.
The idea of such a Bank has been around for a number of years, but only in the last five has it achieved any prominence in public debate. In September the business secretary, Vince Cable, announced tentative plans for a British Investment Bank.
IPPR's report examines the models provided for national investment banks by international case studies and sets out the main lessons that emerge.
It says that a British Investment Bank should have the following features:
• Operation: The Bank should be 100 per cent state-owned but there must be a clear dividing line between the role of government and the activities of bankers in making lending decisions
• Scope: A fully fledged British Investment Bank should be able to invest in infrastructure projects and to provide long-term financing for small and medium-sized businesses across the whole economy
• Size: The government should inject an initial £40 billion of capital over four years into the Bank, and the Bank should be allowed to raise funds on capital markets up to a leverage ratio of 2.5:1 (that is, up to an initial £100 billion).
Since Mr Cable announced the plans no further details have been released.