The proposals, announced by the Prime Minister at his annual Eid al-Adha reception, will benefit aspiring Muslim entrepreneurs and students who may be deterred from starting their own business or entering higher education due to their religious financial beliefs.
The proposals will see the schemes becoming more accessible to anyone who adopts similar financial principles – not just Muslims. And anyone taking the loans will not be at any advantage or disadvantage – they will repay the same amount as other borrowers.
Speaking at the reception, the Prime Minister said:
I want Britain to be one of the world’s centres of Islamic finance - from the highest and mightiest financial institutions all the way to start-ups. We’ve got tens of thousands of young people starting their own businesses and tonight I can announce that we will make sure that there is a type of Start-Up Loan that is totally consistent with all the principles of Islamic finance. We must do that for Start-Up Loans, we must do that for student loans and we must do it for the Enterprise Allowance. That’s what a welcoming, tolerant, multi-racial country does.
The Prime Minister made the announcement to members of the Muslim community as they celebrated the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha at Downing Street. They were joined by senior government ministers, including Baroness Warsi, imams, community and business leaders, charities and public servants from across the diverse range of Muslim communities in the UK.
Praising the Muslim community for their contribution to Britain, the Prime Minister said:
Tonight is about celebrating the contribution that British Muslims make to our country. It is a huge contribution. But tonight is also an opportunity to talk about the issues of integration, of how we help Muslims around the world and the importance of faith in our country and in our communities and the Muslim faith is so strong in that.
Talking about the UK’s role in supporting Muslims and other people in need around the world, the Prime Minister added:
I’m proud of the that fact that even in difficult economic times this country is one of the few countries in the world that has kept its promise on aid and development – meeting that 0.7% target of our gross national income. A lot of that money goes to some of the most challenged Islamic countries in the world. It is something that we can all be proud of that every 2 seconds a child is vaccinated somewhere in the world because of aid that British tax payers have provided.