§ Mr. Barnes
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many applications have been made to the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme; and how many of these applications were successful. 
§ Ms Hewitt
Although the final figures for the financial year 1999–2000 are not yet available, the number of new applications for guarantees received by the DTI from approved lenders is estimated at 4,496, of which an estimated 4,291 will have resulted in guaranteed loans. Since the Scheme started in June 1981 over 71,000 loans have been guaranteed. Historic data on the total number of applications received are not available.
The Department records only applications received from approved lenders where the lender is willing to lend. No information is available on the number of business proposals rejected by lenders on commercial grounds.