HC Deb 24 January 2000 vol 343 c41W
Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what (1) financial assistance is available to new businesses in non-assisted areas; [105274]

(2) what financial assistance he will provide for company expansion in non-assisted areas. [105273]

Mr. Caborn

Financial Assistance to companies in non-Assisted Areas is restricted to SMEs. The Secretary of State announced on 10 November 1999,Official Report, column 629W, proposals for a new Enterprise Grant scheme for SMEs which will be available in certain specified non-Assisted Areas, as well as the Assisted Areas. This is a discretionary scheme offering a grant of up to 15 per cent. of fixed capital costs on projects of less than £500,000 (7½ per cent. in the case of medium sized firms in the specified non-Assisted Areas), with a maximum grant of £75,000. Both new businesses and existing companies seeking to expand are eligible to apply. Further details of the scheme can be found in the scheme brochure, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. In addition, the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme continues to support small firms nationally by providing a Government Guarantee, against default by borrowers, to high street banks and other financial bodies. Loans under the Scheme can be between £5,000 and £250,000 to both new and existing businesses which are looking to expand.