The Government’s plan to put £1bn into setting up a bank designed to increase the amount of lending to businesses looks set to miss the point once again, claims specialist commercial finance broker Christie Finance. The broker said that the announcement by Business Secretary Vince Cable was a welcome attempt to get the country’s main sources of debt finance lending again, but it runs the risk of going the same way as previous good intentions. David Grant, head of UK business mortgages for Christie Finance, said: “Buying existing SME debt from the very banks applying unbelievably stringent criteria to loan applications from SME’s, doesn’t seem like a very effective way to increase lending to them. “Government initiatives have so far ignored the important fact that it is access to debt finance that is the real issue for small businesses. Lending criteria currently applied by UK banks is so stringent that it’s only the most credit worthy applications which attract their support and it is frankly disingenuous of the Banks to say there’s a lack of demand. “Government initiatives so far have concentrated upon discounting interest rates payable, which is all well and good, but interest rates are so low at present that any effect from a repayment discount is practically negligible on the average commercial loan. “In fact, it’s quite ironic that should the UK lose its Triple A credit rating, then the very Bank in which the UK Government is the major shareholder would be thinking twice about lending to Britain!”