The Minister for Trade, Investment and Small Business and the City Minister regularly meet the Small Business Finance Forum, which brings together the banks, small business representative organisations and the Government to discuss the economic situation and the availability of finance.
Will the Minister turn her attention to the Capital for Enterprise Fund, which made its first investments in May last year? Will she confirm that her Department has put up £50 million in total, and that annual management and administration costs will come to £2.5 million? In other words, over 10 years, the fees to the City and advisers will swallow up half of the Government’s total contribution. Has she secured a good deal, or has she been taken for a ride?
I am not sure whether the hon. Gentleman is saying that he would rather that there was no Capital for Enterprise Fund. Since 2000, this Government have committed £400 million to a range of venture capital funds, which has attracted £551 million of private sector investment. Is the hon. Gentleman saying that he does not want such measures to be taken? Does he not want the new measures that will arise from the 2009 pre-Budget report? If we followed the advice of the Opposition, none of these funds would be available to help small business in these difficult times.