March 14, 2012 / 1:47 PM / 6 years ago

Britain to launch small company loan scheme next week

LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) - Britain will launch a scheme to boost the supply of bank lending to small companies next week, the finance ministry said on Wednesday, after the European Commission approved the plan.

Finance minister George Osborne unveiled the National Loans Guarantee Scheme last November under which the government will guarantee 20 billion pounds ($31.5 billion) of bank lending to lower the cost of borrowing for small businesses.

“Now that state aid approval has been granted, we are on track to launch the scheme early next week,” a Treasury spokesman said.

The scheme is expected to start before Osborne presents his annual budget on March 21.

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