Gross lending by the banks to small and medium- sized businesses has increased by 25% over the last year, and recent net lending figures have been positive. This week, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced Help to Grow, to boost scale-up finance, building on the success of our start-up loans.
On the contrary, the gross lending is up sharply—around a quarter over the past year—and there are also greater repayments as businesses that are becoming stronger are able to pay down some of their debts. That means that the net figure has been increasing in recent months. We need to look through the individual figures and see the bigger picture of the expansion. However, there is of course much more to do to recover from the banking crash that occurred in 2008.
I know about this issue very well, not only in a ministerial capacity but because Mr Ian Parker is one of the main advocates for a solution to this, and he is a constituent of mine. It is important to get to the bottom of this issue, but it is complicated. There is work going on across the Financial Conduct Authority and the Treasury, as well as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to ensure that we get to the bottom of it and that people get appropriate recompense.