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Bank Lending (Businesses)

Volume 506: debated on Thursday 4 March 2010

13. What recent estimate he has made of trends in availability to small and medium-sized enterprises of bank lending. (320206)

The majority of small and medium-sized enterprises applying for finance continue to receive the finance that they require. For businesses with a turnover of less than £1 million, the proportion of applications that banks approved increased in the second half of 2009, and the average monthly approval rates for those businesses in the fourth quarter of 2009 were about 67 per cent. for loans and 72 per cent. for overdrafts.

In the real world, many small and medium-sized businesses in Southend, West are still suffering in the current economic climate, and their situation is not being helped by the negative attitude of banks towards lending. A survey by the Federation of Small Businesses showed that only 1 per cent. of moneys is being got from Government finance, so will they now accept my party’s proposal for a national guarantee scheme?

With respect to the hon. Gentleman, I live in the real world too—in Wrexham—and I have small businesses in my constituency as well. We all know that we have had an extremely difficult 18 months and the most substantial global recession in living memory, but we are improving access to credit for businesses. We do not want a return to the up-and-down approach—and the instability that came with it—taken by the Conservative party when I ran a small business.