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Small Businesses: Government Assistance

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps the Government are taking to assist small businesses to overcome short-term cashflow problems. (266659)

[holding answer 30 March 2009]: The Government have and continues to take steps to assist small businesses to access the finance they need to overcome short-term cash-flow problems by:

securing £27 billion lending commitments from Lloyds and RBS for additional lending to businesses this year;

HMRC Time to Pay—since last November businesses experiencing cash flow difficulties can get help from the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Business Support Service. So far more there have been more than 184,000 agreements with businesses to spread more than £3.2 billion in businesses taxes

Introducing the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) to enable banks to lend to businesses that would otherwise not secure a loan. The EFG to date has received over £680 million of eligible applications from 6,027 businesses which have either been granted, being processed or assessed.

Central Government Departments committing to paying all invoices to small businesses within 10-days.

Identifying and promoting business payment exemplars through the prompt payment code.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what support his Department has offered to small businesses in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) nationwide during the economic downturn. (268377)

The new package of support to address the cash flow, credit and capital needs of businesses across the UK, announced by my noble Friend the Secretary of Sate on 14 January under the Real Help campaign, provides:

£1 billion of guarantees supporting £1.3 billion of lending to smaller businesses through the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme;

Up to £10 billion of guarantees through the Working Capital scheme that will secure new and existing credit lines worth up to £20 billion—and free up new capital for lending; and

A £75 million capital (£50 million from HMG and £25 million from banks) fund to invest in businesses that need equity or quasi equity.

As of 12 August the number and value of EFG loans was as follows:


Number of loans offered

Value of loans offered (£ million)




South Tyneside



North East



The Department records information on the Capital for Enterprise Fund on a regional basis. As of 12 August in the North East there was one enquiry under consideration.

Through One North East, the GBI scheme provided £17 million of funding to businesses, including SMEs, in the financial year ending 31 March. The Regional Enterprise Loan Fund has provided over £860,000 to SMEs in the last year, and the Transitional Loan Fund provided £9.9 million of funding to otherwise viable SMEs facing cash flow issues in the financial year ending 31 March.