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Small Business Finance Forum

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 27 October 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent assessment has been made of the effectiveness of the Small Business Finance Forum in improving the access of small businesses to finance. (293773)

The Small Business Finance Forum (SBFF) is an important means through which Ministers can engage with key representatives of the small business community and banks to facilitate better and more effective communication on finance issues. Business representatives have recognised the impact that the forum has had in improving relations.

Key achievements of the SBFF include the agreement of the Statement of Principles and the formation of the SME monitoring panel. The Statement of Principles defines how banks and their small business customers will work together, and aims to establish the right relationship from the start and outline how banks will help if companies get into difficulties, The SME monitoring panel was set up to monitor bank lending and initiate a constructive dialogue with individual lenders on the availability, risk and overall cost of lending. The panel reports monthly to Ministers.