§ Mr. Terry Fields
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) whether any assistance has been given to Cybertronics Ltd., under the loan guarantee scheme, for the manufacture or marketing of smoke masks;
(2) whether his Department takes steps to assess the safety and efficacy of proposed products before agreeing to make available Government assistance under the loan guarantee scheme;
(3) what advice is sought by his Department before Government assistance is made available under the loan guarantee scheme.
§ Mr. Trippier
A bank loan, guaranteed under the scheme, has been advanced to Cybertronics Ltd. For reasons of confidentiality, I cannot comment on individual cases. The primary assessment of all proposals coming forward under this scheme rests with the participating banks, which must decide, taking all relevant factors into account, whether they are prepared to submit an application to my Department for a guarantee. Once they have done so, applications are processed quickly and with the minimum checking necessary to ensure that the scheme's conditions are being met. With over 12,600 guarantees now issued at the rate of 500 to 600 each month, it would be neither acceptable nor practical for the Department to carry out a further detailed examination or to seek further advice in respect of each borrower or product coming forward for scheme lending.