Britain’s banking system is still holding back too many of our small businesses with many still finding it difficult to raise the much needed finance they need for investment and expansion.

Creating a vibrant and growing business base is vital to the country as a whole and while the Conservatives often talk about supporting business, they are often reluctant to intervene even if this means holding back many of our small enterprises who are desperate to expand and compete on the global stage. This will become even more important as we move towards leaving the EU which makes it even more important for the Government to act.

Labour will establish a National Investment Bank based on using the successful models of Germany and other Northern European countries to deliver private capital finance to deliver much needed funding for our businesses. This new public institution will support a network of regional development banks that, unlike giant City of London firms, will be dedicated to supporting growth in their communities.

The bank will deliver the finance that our small businesses, co-operatives and innovative projects need across the whole country.

The National Investment Bank will fill existing gaps in lending by private banks, particularly to small businesses by providing long-term finance. It will also be given the task of helping to deliver our industrial strategy by prioritising spending in line with its objectives.

Labour will also overhaul the regulation of our financial system, putting in place a firm ring-fence between investment and retail banking that will protect consumers and will change the law so that banks can’t close a branch where there is a clear local need, putting their customers first.

Britain has a successful international finance industry, but we also need a strong, safe and socially useful banking system to meet the needs of local economies and communities.