Valerie questions avaliability of finance for small business at BIS Questions

On Thursday 12 February 2015 Valerie was drawn at No 10 at Buinsess, Innovation and Skills questions.

Valerie Vaz asked: “What recent assessment he has made of the availability of finance for small firms and the level of lending by banks to small businesses.”

The Minister for Business and Enterprise replied: “Gross lending by the banks to small and medium-sized businesses has increased by 25% over the last year, and recent net lending figures have been positive. This week, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced Help to Grow, to boost scale-up finance, building on the success of our start-up loans.”

Valerie Vaz said: “Fine words, but how does the Minister reconcile that with the Bank of England’s own money and credit statistics, which say that lending to small businesses has fallen in the last quarter by £1 billion? Too many schemes and not enough action.”

The Minister for Business and Enterprise replied: “On the contrary, the gross lending is up sharply—around a quarter over the past year—and there are also greater repayments as businesses that are becoming stronger are able to pay down some of their debts. That means that the net figure has been increasing in recent months. We need to look through the individual figures and see the bigger picture of the expansion. However, there is of course much more to do to recover from the banking crash that occurred in 2008.”

Valerie said : “the Minister did not answer the question. The Bank of England Statistics are clear.”