Small Businesses: Finance — Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:21 am on 26th January 2012.

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Photo of Lord Harrison Lord Harrison Chair, EU Sub-Committee A - Economic and Financial Affairs, and International Trade 11:21 am, 26th January 2012

My Lords, can I invite the Minister to correct the false impression given yesterday by the Prime Minister in PMQs that bank lending had increased to small businesses? In fact, the trend in bank lending, published by the Bank of England, shows a decline from April to November of last year. I remind her that the Federation of Small Businesses still talks about the difficulty of members obtaining bank lending. When they do it is typically at a 10 per cent rate. The other government programmes, for instance the Merlin programme, are all smoke and mirrors. The regional growth fund has been lending to big businesses, not small businesses. Can she think of something radical, for instance the state-funded Small Business Administration in America, which has successfully lent to small businesses the right amount of money to get the economy going? It is time that this Government did something big for small businesses.