The Treasury DOES back Britain’s SMEs

On Thursday 28 February 2013 seven members of the team behind ‘The Drury Report’ met the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, the Right Hon. Greg Clark MP.

The picture below shows the Minister (centre) with (right) Andrew Selous MP, who has backed the writing of the Report, together with myself.

Drury blogIn a wide-ranging discussion, which followed four presentations by individual members, the Minister demonstrated a willingness to consider the concept of early stage equity finance providing a base for banks to increase their support for SMEs because of their stronger capital positions. We reviewed taper relief and whilst we could not expect an answer at that point, the Minister clearly supports the concept of encouraging longer term share holding.

He was particularly attentive to the words of our stock broker member explaining the regulatory hurdles restricting the options to private investors.

The SEED/EIS scheme, and its lack of impact, was used to demonstrate the role a small-cap committee could make at the planning phase of new policies.

He also responded positively as one member explained why SMEs are reluctant to expand and their difficulty in understanding the financial options available to them.

We hope to continue our work for the small-cap community and will report further.

Earlier in the week I met, together with Roger Hardman, with the London Stock Exchange to discuss their current thinking and the recommendations of ‘the Drury Report’. They support the proposal that smaller stock markets (as was once represented by PLUS Markets) should be encouraging to reform and expand to act as suppliers of early stage equity finance and to provider ‘feeders’ to the AIM.

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