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Treasury Committee publishes terms of reference for SME lending inquiry

26 February 2014

The Treasury Committee publishes the terms of reference for its inquiry into SME lending.

The Terms of Reference outline specific areas of interest to the Committee. The Committee would welcome written submissions on any of these issues.
Further evidence sessions will be announced in due course, once the Committee has had the opportunity to consider written submissions.
The Committee invites written submissions on these issues by 28 March 2014.

SME lending inquiry: terms of reference

Access to SME finance

  • Are Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) able to access credit?
  • If not, what are the reasons SMEs do not obtain credit, including for example:
  • how the pricing or terms of credit restrict credit availability
  • whether firms have been discouraged from seeking credit by a perception that banks are unwilling to lend.

Why hasn’t the market filled the gap?

  • Whether competition amongst banks in the UK retail market has increased or decreased since the crisis, and the effect this has had on SMEs
  • The scope for new or alternative providers of credit to enter the SME lending market, including the barriers to entry facing them.

Regulation, appeals and redress

  • Whether the ‘perimeter of regulation’—the remit of the regulators—should be expanded to include more lending and selling of financial products to SMEs
  • Whether banks’ existing appeals and complaints systems work effectively for SME customers, for example with regard to declined lending applications, sales of interest rate hedging products, changes to loan facilities and related allegations of mistreatment.

Call for evidence

Interested groups or individuals are encouraged to send written submissions, which should be received by the Committee no later than Friday 28 March 2014.

Please note: Submissions should be made using the web portal. If you have difficulty using the portal or if there is a particular reason why you would prefer to use a different method for sending a submission, please contact Committee staff on: 0207 219 5769

Form of written evidence:

Submissions should not normally be longer than 3,000 words. Ideally, each submission should contain:

  • a short summary, perhaps in bullet point form;
  • a brief introduction about the person or organisation submitting evidence, perhaps explaining their area of expertise or experience;
  • any factual information from which the Committee might be able to draw conclusions, or which could be put to other witnesses; and
  • any recommendations for action by the Government or others which the submitter would like the Committee to consider for inclusion in its report to the House.

Submissions should be in MS Word format (we cannot process PDFs) with no use of colour or logos.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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