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My noble friend is absolutely right. That is one of the possible solutions and I hope that it is being considered. Indeed, there are others as well. This blight engulfs companies large and small, damaging-even destroying-their balance sheets. However, the SMEs that form the core and future of our manufacturing industry are the least able to cope with it. Their working capital is diverted, new investment is forgone, innovation and new technology are unaffordable, productivity suffers, credit worthiness is damaged, jobs go and companies subside.
In my past ministerial career, I have always sought to attract inward investment to this country, which is still very important indeed for the future. However, to focus effort and resources on that, while failing at the same time to bring justified and much needed succour to our home-grown existing companies, is surely most unwise. Therefore, I welcome the chink of light that the Chancellor has given us. I hope that the door will be flung open wide and the light will shine more brightly very soon. To relieve the problem would be to reawaken an engine of growth.