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Finance For Industry

Volume 885: debated on Monday 3 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry what arrangements his Department is making to monitor loans offered to companies by Finance For Industry.

None, Sir. My Department does not monitor loans made by private sector financial organisations.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reassuring reply to British industry as distinct from the other less assuring activities that his Department is undertaking. Will he do what he can to assist the small and medium-sized firms which are facing grievous difficulties and problems by ensuring that the FFI helps such companies with their loan finance, if not by interference or by orders, then by encouraging it to do so?

As I made absolutely clear, the Government do not interfere with the activities of the FFI. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would let the FFI know that. If hon. Members will read the Industry Bill, they will find in it great reassurance for the future of industry.

Can my hon. Friend give the House any estimate of how much money has been lent by the FFI, how many jobs have been created by such loans, and how many of those jobs are in Gateshead?

I cannot give my hon. Friend that information, because the FFI is a private sector financial organisation. If my hon. Friend were to ask me about the operation of the Industry Act I should be in a much better position to answer him.