To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans his Department has to review the bank referral scheme and increase the (a) diversity of lending options and (b) availability of constructive support for rejected businesses.
9 November 2021
The Government published a statutory Post-Implementation Review of the Bank Referral Scheme in December 2020, which is available here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/1946/pdfs/uksiod_20151946_en.pdf.
The Government remains committed to fostering a strong, diverse and competitive financial services sector to ensure that UK SMEs can benefit from high quality products and services at efficient prices. That said, I should be clear that after SMEs are referred to alternative lenders under the Bank Referral Scheme, the decision of whether to offer finance is at the discretion of each lender, subject to their commercial considerations.
Furthermore, the Government recognises the vital role that alternative lenders have played in the provision of credit to SMEs and is grateful for the way the sector has responded to the current crisis. It remains committed to promoting competition, and widening the funding options available to UK businesses, and as such, we will continue to review our policies and work with the sector to achieve those outcomes.