What do UK party manifestos say about alternative finance?

17th April 2015

Who is embracing the finance revolution, and who’s stuck in the past?

Now that the main parties’ 2015 election manifestos have been launched and released for public consumption, we wanted to round up how each of the documents approaches the issue of business finance – and in particular, of course, the party’s attitude to crowdfunding, peer-to-business lending, or other alternative means of finance.

As an emerging vehicle for economic recovery, we believe that recognising the role of peer-to-peer platforms is essential in bridging the SME funding gap and ensuring fairer finance across the UK.

The table below details the attitude of the political parties, as per their manifesto, to the sector, alongside a representative quote of their approach to helping small- and medium-sized businesses grow:

Party Support Quote
Labour No explicit support in manifesto for P2B “Labour will establish a British Investment Bank with the mission to help businesses grow and to create wealth and jobs. It will have the resources to improve access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses, and will support a network of regional banks.”
Conservatives Stated support for “financial technology revolution” “We will help new and existing challenger banks to inject fresh competition into the market for [...] business loans, including through the British Business Bank, while backing the financial technology revolution.”
Liberal Democrats Explicit support for crowdfunding and alternative finance “Develop the UK banking sector to promote competition and innovation by [...] encouraging the growth of crowdfunding and alternative finance models, encouraging Local Authorities to use these platforms to improve credit access in their areas.”
UKIP No explicit support in manifesto for P2B “Despite schemes such as Funding for Lending and the Finance Guarantee, small businesses still find it difficult to secure funding in the current economic climate.”
Green Party No explicit support in manifesto for P2B “Increase access to finance by investing £2 billion in a network of community banks, mutually owned and serving local areas or particular groups.”

The only two parties that seem tuned in to the alternative finance revolution are the two coalition partners – perhaps indicating that their work to support certain selected P2B lenders through the British Business Bank (a decision we have criticised) is earmarked for expansion.

What kind of support for crowdfunding will we wake up to on May 8th? That remains to be seen.

You can read the parties’ manifestos here:

Labour | Conservative | Lib Dem | UKIP | Green Party

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