The Government have announced a range of initiatives to help small businesses access finance from a wide range of sources, including the national loan guarantee scheme and the business finance partnership.
I thank my hon. Friend for that answer and welcome the Government’s efforts on this matter. Does he agree that in constituencies such as High Peak, micro-businesses are still having difficulties finding loans, despite the assurances of the banks that they are open for business? What words of support and advice can he offer the small, independent business owners upon whom the recovery depends to such a great extent?
My hon. Friend raises an important point, and having visited his constituency, I know it is very rural. He might encourage businesses in his constituency to apply for the rural economy grant scheme, which is worth £60 million and is open to businesses operating in rural areas in certain markets, including agri-foods, tourism and digital media technology. I would encourage them to do so.