My Lords, there are some key measures in the Statement on which I congratulate the Government and which completely change the framework for both businesses and infrastructure to access financing. Over the long term, they will create the capacity for accelerated growth that we should all have seen more than a decade ago.
I have two questions for the Minister. First, micro-business is obviously the beginning of the business pipeline. The national loan guarantee scheme works through the banks, which pay no regard to micro-businesses. That does not seem to be a scheme that particularly helps them. They also seem to be too small for the business finance partnership. Will there be, or are there, mechanisms within credit easing to address that particular group of essential businesses?
Secondly, the Minister will guess that I am absolutely delighted that the Northern line will be financed against the community infrastructure levy and that similar powers may be given to various city mayors through tax increment financing mechanisms. Will he look at applying this far more widely, because many small infrastructure projects could come very quickly out of the pipeline, be well managed by local authorities working in co-ordination with each other and give us a much wider distribution of infrastructure as a spur to growth?