Anne Marie Morris MP welcomes moves to help small businesses access finance

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot) (Con): Perhaps I could draw to the hon. Gentleman's attention the fact that I had a meeting yesterday with the business finance taskforce of the British Bankers Association, whose chief executive told me that its 17 initiatives to support lending are on track. Indeed, mentors are beginning to be recruited and the lending code is almost in place. The business growth fund is pretty much ready and just requires some changes in FSA regulation. I hope that that provides some comfort.

Mr Weir: Again, we hear, "It is almost there, it is coming", but it is not here. Help is needed now. The Merlin process seems to have stalled-we were told that there would be announcements, but they have not come. If they do not come soon, it will be too late for many businesses.

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