The Treasury Committee has issued a call for evidence as part of its inquiry into the financing of SMEs.
On industry issues, the Committee asks:
- What are the key challenges SMEs face when seeking finance?
- Through which channels do SMEs find the most success when seeking funding and why?
- What role can financial innovation play in SME finance? Is there more the government and the regulators can do to improve access to finance through innovative firms?
- How accessible is finance for SMEs of different sizes?
- Is finance available to allow SMEs to scale up from venture capital funding?
- How successful has BoE’s Term Funding Scheme with additional incentives for SMEs been at encouraging banks to lend to SMEs?
- What role do credit reference agencies play in supporting SME finance?
- What impact has the RBS bailout state aid Alternative Remedies Package and its various funds for SMEs (implemented by Banking Competition Remedies Ltd) had on SME access to finance?
- Is securing access to SME finance particularly challenging for women, people from ethnic minorities, people from certain social classes, or any other group? If so, what should be done about it?
On regulatory issues, the Committee asks:
- Do SMEs have adequate and appropriate access to a complaints procedure when in dispute with their bank or lender?
- How effective has the LSB’s Standards of Lending Practice been?
- How well does the FOS work for small business complaints?
- Is the FOS’s existing role in SME finance appropriate? If not, how should it change?
- How effective has the BBRS been, and what lessons can be learnt from it?
- Should SMEs have the same level of consumer protection and deposit insurance limits as retail consumers?
- Should commercial lending to SMEs be brought into the regulatory perimeter?
- What impact will PRA’s proposed Basel 3.1 capital requirements framework, and in particular the proposed removal of the SME support factor, have on SMEs in the context of PRA objectives?
On government policy issues, the Committee asks:
- Should the Government do more to enhance SME access to finance? And, if so, what?
- What has the impact of the Covid Bounceback Loan Scheme which was followed by the Recovery Loan Scheme, been on SME finance?
- In the US the Treasury approved a fund, (State Small Business Credit Initiative) for incentivising and supporting underserved businesses. Does the UK need similar provisions?
- How useful is the British Business Bank? Does its finance hub improve SME access to finance?
The call for evidence closes on 13 August 2023.