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Access to Credit

Volume 506: debated on Thursday 4 March 2010

16. What steps he is taking to increase the level of access to credit by small and medium-sized enterprises. (320210)

We have a number of targeted interventions working to ensure access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses. I have already given the House figures concerning the enterprise finance guarantee, which is one example of those interventions.

The statements from the Dispatch Box are quite at variance with the experience of small businesses on the ground. Is it not clear that the second banking bail-out failed in its attempt to extend bank lending to business?

The experience on the ground is that we are seeing signs of increasing investment in business and of businesses beginning to recover as consumer demand develops. Consumer demand is extremely important. That is why it is vital that we do not reach the levels of unemployment in this country that we saw on two occasions under the last Tory Government.