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1 Feb 2010 : Column 127W

Business: Government Assistance

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what information his Department holds on the number of banks which have asked applicants under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme to use their homes as collateral for a loan; and if he will make a statement. [302099]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government have made it very clear that lenders are not permitted to take a direct charge over a principal private residence for a new EFG loan. The Department issued a clarification to this effect in February 2009 to the lenders which is published on the BIS website:

Where the Department has been informed of instances where it is alleged that lenders have attempted to contravene the rules, these instances have been raised with the lender concerned. However, due to level of correspondence the department receives on EFG in general, we do not hold figures on the number of cases or of banks where this has been an issue.

It is important to distinguish between an EFG loan and where a bank is offering a business a loan on commercial terms. This line can often become blurred as financing arrangements can be complex. For example, a lender might offer a package of lending to a company that includes EFG and non-EFG lending. The EFG rules apply only to the EFG component of any loan package.

If a lender decides that they can lend commercially but require security in the form of a residential property to do so, the Government would not expect them to offer an EFG loan as an alternative. EFG should only be used where the business is viable but the lender is not able to lend on commercial terms.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department has taken to ensure that borrowing guaranteed under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme relates to new lending only. [313143]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) is a facility for lenders to enable additional lending to viable SMEs who sit on the margins of commercial lending decisions.

EFG not only enables new terms loans, but also refinancing of existing term loans, overdraft conversion, guarantees on invoice facilities, and guarantees on new or increased overdraft borrowing. Lenders are required to state which form of lending is being undertaken in each case before the loan guarantee is approved.

However, in respect of refinancing existing debts EFG may only be used in cases where the lender is able to certify that the borrower is viable but requires a rescheduling of those debts to ease cash flow pressures, and where the borrower has insufficient security to enable that rescheduling to take place without the support of EFG.

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Business: Sports

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department has taken steps to assist field sports businesses during the recession. [312855]

Ms Rosie Winterton: There is no specific help for field sports businesses. However, this Department has introduced a range of general measures to help businesses through the global recession and is continuing to provide help to promote growth during the recovery. Small and medium-sized businesses can find information and support at:

or by contacting the Business Link Helpline on: 0845 6009006.

Measures include:

The Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG)-encourages additional bank lending to viable businesses who have no or insufficient security and who would not otherwise secure a commercial loan. A £1.3 billion facility is in place to be accessed by the end of March 2010, and this was extended in the recent Pre-Budget Report for a further year to March 2011, with a £500 million budget for the financial year 2010-11. Over £1.11 billion of eligible EFG applications from over 9,870 firms have been granted, are being processed or assessed, and over 7,630 businesses have been offered loans totalling nearly £780 million.

The Capital for Enterprise Fund (CfEF)-a £75 million fund supporting viable business with equity or mezzanine investment aimed at releasing and sustaining growth and can invest between £200,000 and £2 million where the business has exhausted its borrowing capacity with lenders. Offers totalling £84.5 million have been made to 55 businesses, of which 34 offers worth £52.6 million are live. 18 businesses have received investment so far totalling £25 million. Businesses who would like to explore whether the fund might benefit them can contact the fund managers assigned to their geographical location through:

Health Checks through Business Link, which provide a free review of a business with a professional business adviser for hands-on advice and help accessing the full range of Government help. To date, over 110, 000 businesses have benefited from health checks. 79 per cent. of SMEs accessing Health Checks were satisfied with the information provided and of those who accessed additional support, 93 per cent. were satisfied with this further assistance. 86 per cent. of all assisted businesses would recommend Health Checks to other businesses.(1)

Encouraging prompt payment-Government Departments have committed to pay their bills within 10 days to help small businesses. From 1 June 2009 to 31 December 2009 central Government Departments have paid nearly £107 billion worth of payments in 10 days. And we have encouraged big companies to sign up to a Code of Practice to help their suppliers (according to data provide by Experian the total value of suppliers to prompt payment code signatories is over £750 billion). We are also helping business manage their finances (over 109,000 guides on 'Help with Managing your cashflow' have already been downloaded from the website).

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Additional flexibilities for SMEs were introduced into Train to Gain from January 2009 to help employers continue to train their staff through the recession in preparation for the recovery. These flexibilities included access to funding for repeat qualifications, the introduction of units of learning in business critical areas such as marketing and IT, and extension of the access to the leadership and management advisory service for very small SMEs (less than 10 employees). In 2008/09 academic year, over 559,800 SME employees have started courses through Train to Gain.

In addition, the Solutions for Business (SfB) portfolio is the Government's long-term, simplified offer of support products for business. Government provide about £2 billion of support to business through the portfolio. Solutions for Business products offer help with common issues such as accessing finance, innovation, business and manufacturing advice, research and development, knowledge sharing, skills and training, exporting and overseas trade, and resource efficiency, including low carbon. Small and medium-sized businesses can find information and support at:

Business: Torbay

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent steps his Department has taken to assist (a) small, (b) medium-sized and (c) large businesses in Torbay constituency. [313333]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I can confirm that, as of 20 January 2010, 13 businesses have been offered loans valued in total at £800,000, of which 10 with a total value of £600,000 have been drawn down by businesses as part of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme, part of the Government's Real Help for Business Now support.

I can also confirm that during 2009, Business Link, the primary access channel for business to access Government support, has assisted a total of 2,280 small and medium sized businesses and seven large businesses in the Torbay unitary authority area. Of these, 307 received more intensive support to help their business. Since October 2008, BL has completed 465 health checks for businesses in the Torbay area. This compares to 9,636 health checks that have been completed in the region as a whole as at the end of December 2009.

South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) provides a range of assistance in the Torbay area to ensure the supply of suitable business premises, business support and advice. This includes the provision of funding for a network of Innovation Centres which will provide incubation space for new business start-ups in the knowledge based sectors.

SWRDA also provides specialist help and advice to larger companies in Torbay, for example on graduate level recruitment and energy matters. Companies in the area also benefit from the services of the South West MAS (Manufacturing Advisory Service).

The RDA and other partners also come together as the Devon Area Action Force and work closely with those Torbay companies facing redundancies.

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The local fishing industry will benefit from the RDA and EU-funded Brixham fish market which aims to sustain fishing and other industries in the town. The White Rock Business Park, in Paignton, is being developed using RDA and ERDF finance and will support 3,000 jobs. The RDA is also investing £2.5 million, as co-financing with ERDF, business support under the Urban Enterprise priority of the Competitiveness programme.

Business: Weather

Keith Vaz: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the cost to business in (a) Leicester and (b) the East Midlands of the adverse weather conditions of December 2009 and January 2010. [312224]

Ms Rosie Winterton: There are no official estimates at this early stage of local, regional or national cost to business as a result of the adverse weather but there are indications that some businesses lost trade due to customers being unable to travel or lost output due to staff being unable to attend work. We will continue to monitor the situation and estimates as these become available.

Carbon Emissions

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies plans to sign up to the 10:10 campaign to cut carbon emissions by 10 per cent. in 2010. [311389]

Mr. McFadden: This Department is supportive of the objectives of the 10:10 campaign. BIS has been working towards achieving the Government's extensive SOGE targets in recent years and has plans to further reduce its carbon emissions over the next or so. BIS does, however, have some reservations as to whether it can be sure of hitting the 2010 target as it is in the middle of reorganising its London HQ estate to accommodate the summer 2009 machinery of Government changes.

I have approached the chief executives of the Insolvency Service, Companies House, National Measurement Office and the Intellectual Property Office and they will respond directly to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Stephen Speed, dated 29 January 2010:

Letter from Gareth Jones, dated 29 January 2010:

Letter from Peter Mason, dated 29 January 2010:

Letter from Sean Dennehey, dated 15 January 2010:

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Departmental Advertising

Grant Shapps: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what advertising campaigns for which his Department is responsible have (a) commenced and (b) continued in 2009-10; and what the total cost of each campaign has been. [309936]

Mr. McFadden: The total cost of advertising campaigns in 2009/10 cannot be provided as the exact costs will not be known until all the campaigns have been completed when fully audited figures will be available.

We can provide figures for spend to date on advertising campaigns in 2009/10:

2009/10 Campaign

Press Radio Poster Online Media total

Vulnerable Workers Campaign 2009/10






Agency Workers






National Minimum Wage 2009/10






Employing People






Graduate Internship Program 2009/10






Science: (So what? So everything) campaign 2009/10






Trawlermen Compensation Scheme 2009/10






Total 2009/10 to date






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