Tory plea to help small businesses
The Tories have urged the Government to overhaul measures meant to improve the flow of credit to small businesses amid a continued decline in lending.
Shadow business minister Mark Prisk called for a simpler, clearer loan guarantee scheme to help firms borrow cash to get through the recession.
In a letter to Business Secretary Lord Mandelson ahead of Wednesday's Pre-Budget Report, Mr Prisk said a series of different Government schemes were failing to work.
They included the trade credit scheme, the capital for enterprise fund and the automotive assistance programme, which had all had limited or no impact.
Another, the enterprise finance scheme, was due to end in March, while the most recent Bank of England figures showed lending to business declined by £4.6 billion in September, he said.
"During the recession it would have been much better to have provided a single national loan guarantee scheme, as Conservatives proposed," Mr Prisk wrote.
"This would have made it easier and simpler for business needing to access working capital.
"Worth up to £50 billion it would been available for viable businesses of every size and in every sector.
"Now, however, with the Pre-Budget Report looming, businesses - especially small businesses - need to know how you intend to overhaul your failed schemes.
"They want a simpler system, with less red tape. They want clear and consistent rules, promptly implemented."