I have now completed my review of the loan guarantee scheme. An announcement of the outcome will be made shortly. By the end of February this year 8,861 guarantees had been issued in respect of £295 million of bank lending.
Is my hon. Friend aware that the scheme has proved most satisfactory and helpful, but that it needs to be expanded? However, does that not depend on the banks having a positive attitude? Is he aware that there is concern that some banks are not being as helpful as they could be? Will he take steps to ensure that they play their part fully in the scheme when it is extended?
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his complimentary remarks about the scheme. I have very much involved the banks in the current review that I am completing. They are aware that, despite all the efforts that they and I have made, there is sometimes a need for more knowledge and awareness by some of the bank managers. We have considered a report by outside consultants—Robson Rhodes — who also mentioned that point. Following the announcement of the review, I shall arrange for copies of that report to be placed in the Library.