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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:02 pm on 24th March 2011.

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Photo of Geoffrey Robinson Geoffrey Robinson Labour, Coventry North West 3:02 pm, 24th March 2011

I am very pleased to follow the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, but, unfortunately, by the end of his speech he still had not told us a single practical thing from the strategy for encouraging growth. Despite all the pages in “The Plan for Growth”, the Office for Budget Responsibility stated yesterday that it found nothing that it could measure as contributing to an improvement in the UK’s growth prospects. He goes on about low interest rates, but I wonder whether he has tried to borrow, or knows of any small company that has had to borrow, in the current difficult market and has been able to do so at the low or zero interest rates to which he referred. That is absolute nonsense. It is divorced from the real world and he knows it.

The Business Secretary knows that when we were both in different places in the Chamber he used to say that we had either to establish a national bank or its equivalent or to make the banks lend. He has come up with no solution to the problem and the fact remains that the single biggest inhibitor to growth in the vital sector of small and medium-sized enterprises still remains, and that is their inability to access credit. How can they grow in a difficult situation when markets are flat without access to credit? That is the question he has not answered and until he has answered it, he has no credibility as a Business Secretary. We need definite plans for doing that at some stage.