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Small Business Finance

Volume 516: debated on Thursday 14 October 2010

Atega Business Solutions, a new business start-up based in my constituency, tells me that part funding is available to it, but that in most cases it has to spend 100% of the cost before it is eligible to claim back 50%, which deters it from applying. What advice would the Minister give to Atega to secure funding when money is tight?

It is important that businesses not only press their own bank, but shop around, because there tends to be an anxiety that, having been turned down by one bank, they will not be successful elsewhere—I remember that when I started my own business in the last recession. It is also important, if the hon. Gentleman can, to press that case on his constituents’ behalf with the British Bankers Association. If he does so, would he copy me in? If his constituents continue to have problems, I would like to ensure that the banks understand that we take an interest in the plight and prospects of our small businesses.

The measures introduced by the coalition Government to help small businesses have been a vast improvement on what went before under the previous Government. However, in the specific cases bought to the Department’s attention by Members of Parliament in which commercially viable small and medium-sized enterprises are still being denied access to capital, can I have the Minister’s assurance that the Department will do everything it can to help?

We can and we will, and I will be happy to support any Member who wants to press that case. This is a very important issue, and it should be cross party. We can make a difference.