UQ on Bosnia and Herzegovina & Westminster Hall Debate on SMEs: Access to Finance 09/11/21


Categories: News

Last week, following media reports of political unrest in Bosnia, an Urgent Question was granted on the potential for renewed conflict in the Western Balkans.

I highlighted the Srebrenica Massacre, the worst atrocity to take place on European Soil since the Second World War, and Dodik’s allusions to alliances with China, Russia and Hungary. I asked the Minister what assessment had been made of the likelihood and potential impact of these countries intervening in the region.

You can read a transcript of my question and the Minister’s answer in Hansard, or watch it on ParliamentTV.

A debate was held in Westminster Hall about the availability of finance for small and medium sized enterprises.

I was grateful to Peter Gibson (MP for Darlington), Kevin Hollinrake (MP for Thirsk and Malton), and the Minister for the opportunity to make several interventions on the topic.

First I mentioned my recent meeting with the British Business Bank on their financial offering for SMEs, which they have coupled with online learning for entrepreneurs to equip them with the essential skills they need to succeed.

I then asked whether Members agree that high street banks could benefit from getting to know entrepreneurs and their business models in more detail during the entirety of their lending processes.

To the Minister, Paul Scully MP, I put two questions. Firstly, that affordable finance for SMEs must be  available UK-wide, and what the Government is doing to make sure this extends to Scottish businesses.  I then asked about Government procurement processes, which usually end with contracts going to the business offering the lowest quote. This could mean SMEs struggle to compete, or could operate at a loss if successful. I asked the Minister what steps the Government are taking to level the playing field in this area.

You can watch the debate on ParliamentTV.