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Support for Business

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

My noble Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has made the following ministerial statement:

Effective credit is key to helping small businesses survive during the current financial climate. The Government are on the side of small and medium-sized businesses and understand that they are facing tough times. We want to help businesses to plan for the difficult times ahead.

On Thursday, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Business and Enterprise met with the main banks responsible for lending to small and medium-sized businesses. I am pleased to announce to the House that they have agreed the establishment of a new forum where banks and small business organisations will meet regularly to discuss and resolve their concerns. My noble Friend the Secretary of State will chair this forum, but the agreements reached will be owned and taken forward by banks and small businesses.

Both my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and my noble Friend the Secretary of State understand the concerns of small businesses. They are committed to ensuring that both new and existing small businesses have access to the finance that they need to help them survive during the financial downturn. Communication between banks and small businesses can promote a shared understanding and enhance business confidence.

This agreement demonstrates the Government’s continuing commitment to maintain and raise awareness of the availability of finance for small and medium-sized businesses through the small firms loan guarantee scheme and the European Investment Bank.

Further details on the forum will be available on the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform website at: www.berr.gov.uk.