Following a statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Westminster today regarding lending and bank regulation, Alliance Deputy Leader Naomi Long MP has asked the Chancellor to make sure that specific measures are in place to ensure that Northern Ireland businesses and individuals feel the benefit of the changes.
East Belfast Naomi Long MP said: “Northern Ireland has been hit hard by both the UK’s and Ireland’s banking crises in recent times and I want to ensure that the Treasury are sensitive to those challenges and to the restricted banking market in Northern Ireland.
“The Chancellor announced that the four main UK banks have agreed to make an additional £1bn available for the Business Growth Fund and to increase lending by £10bn to small and medium sized businesses this year. I want to ensure that local businesses have access to that money so that they can grow and help drive economic recovery.
“I broadly welcome the statement from the Treasury, though this is only a starting point. Much work needs to be done as regards making banks more responsible and more responsive to the needs of individuals and businesses.
“People are justifiably angry at many banks’ behaviour in recent times. The bonus culture in particular has damaged public confidence in the sector.
“Genuine reform and accountability in the banking sector is, therefore, essential. This statement is a small step in the right direction, but there much more do to, particularly in providing protection for people and businesses here.”