§ Mr. Jamieson
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if applications to his Department for financial assistance under the loan guarantee scheme are(a) considered and (b) offered by Department of Trade and Industry regional offices; if the value of the loan guarantee determines whether central or regional offices are responsible for the offering of this financial support; what other reasons require responsibilities to change between offices; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Oppenheim
[holding answer 20 May 1996]: All applications for assistance under the small firms loan guarantee scheme, whatever their size, are considered centrally through the Department's loan guarantee section in Sheffield.
The scheme is a joint venture between the DTI and the lenders involved. It is the lender's responsibility to undertake the commercial assessment of a business proposal, and decide whether it is prepared to lend. Only if all normal bank lending criteria are met, other than the lack of security, should the scheme be considered. It is the lender who applies for, and receives, the guarantee.
It is the DTI's responsibility to consider whether the application meets scheme criteria. If so, the guarantee is issued.310W
Simplified arrangements allow certain lenders and their borrowers quicker access to the scheme where the loan amount does not exceed £30,000.