Business and Enterprise Committee

21 November 2008 (PN 74)

BE Committee to hold urgent hearing on financial support for small and medium-sized enterprises

The Business and Enterprise Committee intends to take evidence from representatives of SMEs and banks on financial support for small and medium-sized businesses at an urgent hearing. Despite government support for banks and a base rate of only 3%, there are indications that SMEs are finding it hard to get the credit they need. The most recent Bank of England Credit Conditions Survey noted:

corporate credit availability had been tightened over the past three months, by more than had been expected in Q2. A further reduction in corporate credit availability was anticipated over the next three months

Moreover, the situation may be exacerbated by difficulties in obtaining credit insurance, and accounting rules. The Government is expected to announce some support for SMEs in next week's prebudget report. The Committee's hearing will provide an opportunity to explore the extent of problems for SMEs, and the ways in which government and banks are responding.

The Chairman of the Committee, Peter Luff MP said

Despite interest rates at their lowest levels since 1954,there are reports that SMEs are finding difficulty in getting access to the credit they need for their day-to-day business. This session will offer the chance to assess what is really happening now, and what is likely to happen in future, and to look at the adequacy of government and the banks' support for SMEs.

The Committee would welcome evidence on the support needed for SMEs. Such evidence should be received by Monday 8 December. Further details of witnesses and the venue for the session will be announced in due course .

Membership of the Committee

Chairman: Peter Luff MP (Con) (Mid Worcestershire)
Mr Adrian Bailey (Lab) (West Bromwich West)
Roger Berry (Lab) (Kingswood)
Mr Brian Binley (Con) (Northampton South)
Mr Michael Clapham (Lab) (Barnsley West and Penistone)
Mr Lindsay Hoyle (Lab) (Chorley)
Miss Julie Kirkbride (Con) (Bromsgrove)
Anne Moffat (Lab) (East Lothian)
Mr Mark Oaten (Lib Dem) (Winchester)
Mr Mike Weir (SNP) (Angus)
Mr Anthony Wright (Lab) (Great Yarmouth)

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