HC Deb 22 March 1982 vol 20 cc679-80
17. Mr. Viggers

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on the progress of the loan guarantee scheme.

Mr. MacGregor

The encouraging response to the loan guarantee scheme has been maintained. By 5 March, the latest date for which figures are available, 2,741 guarantees had been issued in respect of £99.1 million of bank lending. As has been announced, the ceiling for lending in the year to May 1982 is being raised to £150 million, and a further £150 million will be made available for the following year. A preliminary review of the operation of the scheme is now being carried out.

Mr. Viggers

Does my hon. Friend agree that this has been a remarkable success story? In view of the important link between manufacturing industry and jobs, will my hon. Friend say what percentage of the applications have been in respect of manufacturing industry?

Mr. MacGregor

I am grateful for my hon. Friend's opening remarks, and I agree with him. One of the encouraging and optimistic signs about the scheme is that in total value £55.4 million has gone out to manufacturing industry. In other words, more that half has gone to manufacturing industry.

Mr. Richard Page

When it comes to reviewing the scheme will my hon. Friend consider carefully raising the limit to £¼ million per loan as opposed to the present level?

Mr. MacGregor

That is one of the items that we shall be considering in the review over the next few months. My hon. Friend will know that with the rapid progress of the scheme—and every month it moves faster, with more being taken up—there is a problem about the general ceilings. My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already doubled the amount of money allocated to the scheme, which is one aspect that must be taken into account.