UK's Cameron pledges to guarantee business loans by private lenders

LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday he would use the government balance sheet to guarantee business loans by private lenders if he win's the May 7 general election.

The next Conservative Government would launch a new financing scheme for businesses called "Help to Grow," he told business leaders.

"Our ambition is to help 500 of our fastest growing firms annually - giving entrepreneurs the access to the kind of finance their German equivalent would get," he said, adding that businesses were estimated to need an extra one billion pounds a year.

"We will plug this billion-pound gap by using the government's balance sheet to guarantee loans by private lenders, or by co-investing public money alongside private money," Cameron said. (Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison and Guy Faulconbridge)

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