MPC should focus on boosting lending to businesses

  • Eurozone problems increases pressure for more QE, but encouraging business lending would be more effective

Commenting ahead of the MPC decision tomorrow (Thursday), David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Most analysts expect the MPC to maintain its current policy at the June meeting, with interest rates staying at 0.5% and the Quantitative Easing (QE) programme at £325bn. However, demands for more QE have started to rise due to the worsening crisis in the Eurozone and signs that the US and Asian economies are slowing. More QE will have only marginal effects in boosting growth. But if the pressure facing Spanish banks puts the UK financial system at risk, an increase in QE may be necessary. In the meantime though, the MPC should focus on boosting the flow of credit to businesses.

“Weaknesses in business lending can be best addressed by the creation of a fully-fledged business bank. The MPC can also help by reconsidering its reluctance to purchase assets other than gilts, such as securitised SME loans. This would make the banks less risk averse and would help to remove one of the main obstacles to sustaining a recovery in the UK. We believe that if the MPC purchased private sector assets, this would encourage growth, rather than increasing irresponsible lending or interfering with credit allocation.”

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