Skip to main content

Business: Government Assistance

Volume 504: debated on Wednesday 27 January 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) small, (b) medium-sized and (c) large businesses in Eastbourne have received assistance under the business loan scheme since the inception of that scheme. (302996)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 14 December 2009, Official Report, column 934W.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to support small and medium-sized businesses during the recession; and if he will make a statement. (310834)

This Department has introduced a range of measures to help businesses through the global recession and is continuing to provide help to promote growth during the recovery. Small and medium-sized businesses can find information and support at

or by contacting the Business Link Helpline on 0845 6009006.

Measures include:

The Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) - encourages additional bank lending to viable businesses who have no or insufficient security and who would not otherwise secure a commercial loan. A £1.3 billion facility is in place to be accessed by the end of March 2010, and this was extended in the recent Pre-Budget Report for a further year to March 2011, with a £500 million budget for the financial year 2010-11. Over £1.09 billion of eligible EFG applications from over 9,700 firms have been granted, are being processed or assessed, and over 7,500 businesses have been offered loans totalling £763 million.

The Capital for Enterprise Fund (CfEF) - a £75 million fund supporting viable business with equity or mezzanine investment aimed at releasing and sustaining growth and can invest between £200,000 and £2 million where the business has exhausted its borrowing capacity with lenders. Offers totalling over £76 million have been made to 50 businesses, of which thirty one offers worth £47.7 million are live. 15 businesses have received investment so far totalling £19.9 million. Businesses who would like to explore whether the fund might benefit them can contact the fund managers assigned to their geographical location through

Health Checks through Business Link which provide a free review of a business with a professional business adviser for hands-on advice and help accessing the full range of government help. To date, nearly 104, 000 businesses have benefited from health checks. 79 per cent. of SMEs accessing Health Checks were satisfied with the information provided and of those who accessed additional support, 93 per cent. were satisfied with this further assistance. 86 per cent. of all assisted businesses would recommend Health Checks to other businesses1.

1 Early Assessment of Business Link Healthchecks - November 2009

Encouraging prompt payment - Government Departments have committed to pay their bills within 10 days to help small businesses, and we have encouraged big companies to sign up to a Code of Practice to help their suppliers. Up to now, 758 organisations have signed up to the code, including 25 FTSE 100 companies. We are also helping business manage their finances (over 109, 000 guides on 'Help with managing your cashflow' have already been downloaded from the website).

Additional flexibilities for SMEs were introduced into Train to Gain from January 2009 to help employers continue to train their staff through the recession in preparation for the recovery. These flexibilities included access to funding for repeat qualifications, the introduction of units of learning in business critical areas such as marketing and IT, and extension of the access to the leadership and management advisory service for very small SMEs (less than 10 employees). In 2008-09 academic year, over 559,800 SME employees have started courses through Train to Gain.

In addition, the Solutions for Business (SfB) portfolio is the Government's long term, simplified offer of support products for business. Government provide about £2 billion of support to business through the portfolio. Solutions for Business products offer help with common issues such as accessing finance, innovation, business and manufacturing advice, research and development, knowledge sharing, skills and training, exporting and overseas trade, and resource efficiency, including low carbon. Small and medium-sized businesses can find information and support at

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what information his Department holds on the level of personal guarantees required by lenders in respect of the portion of each loan advanced under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme that is not guaranteed by the Government. (313142)

The Department holds no information the level of personal guarantees required by a lender. Lenders are required to record whether or not a personal guarantee has been taken with respect to each EFG facility guaranteed. The level of personal guarantee is a matter for the lender concerned and will vary according to the commercial lending practices of each lender.

Lenders are entitled to require a personal guarantee covering some or all the proposed EFG facility. That personal guarantee must be specific to the EFG facility and must not be solely or preferentially attributed to cover the lender's 25 per cent. exposure which is not covered by the Government 75 per cent. guarantee.

Lenders are not permitted to take a direct charge over a principal private residence for a new EFG facility.