[Sir Edward Leigh in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:48 pm on 10th November 2020.

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Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 3:48 pm, 10th November 2020

In the interests of time, I will not. It is for the devolved Administrations to decide how to use that guaranteed funding, irrespective of how the UK Government provide support. However, this uplift will support businesses across the United Kingdom. We are also protecting businesses with extensive tax breaks, deferrals, and repayment flexibility through the time-to-pay scheme. Further Government support mechanisms enjoyed by SMEs include the statutory sick pay rebates and eviction protection for commercial tenants until the end of this year.

I hope I have illustrated that SMEs are at the forefront of our minds through this crisis. Support measures available to those businesses represent a significant part of the £200 billion package of support that the Government have put forward. The IMF recently described the UK’s economic plan as “aggressive”, successful in “holding down unemployment” and business failures, and

“one of the best examples of coordinated action globally”.

However, I accept that it is never going to save every business and every job, and we will continue to engage with colleagues across the House. To Owen Thompson, I will look into the meeting that has not happened yet and ensure that it does. [Interruption.] I will also engage with the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, but I must give my hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington a few minutes to respond.

We will continue to listen carefully and we will maintain a flexible approach. As the Chancellor said in the House last week, things need to change when circumstances change. What that means for SME business owners up and down the country is simply this: where and when necessary, we will take swift action to provide the support they need. We will continue to do so as we work through this awful crisis that has befallen our country.