§ Mr. Durant
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has received the pilot scheme for commercial lending by trustee savings banks; and whether it has been decided to extend this scheme.
§ Mr. Lawson
The trustee savings banks have submitted a progress report on the pilot scheme for small scale commercial lending begun in 1979. In this report they have proposed, and the Government have agreed, that the scheme be extended from the five pilot banks to the remaining banks on a phased basis from 21 May 1980. Certain modifications to the original scheme have also been agreed including removal of the maximum limit 215W on any loan of £25,000. Lending however will still be concentrated on small businesses—sole traders, the self-employed, partnerships and private companies—in the main run by or partly owned by existing TSB customers. The Government regard an expansion of this commercial lending by the TSBs as an important step towards the status recommended for them by the Page committee and welcome this useful addtional source of finance for small firms