By Claire West

Business Secretary Vince Cable and Small Business Minister Mark Prisk today met with business representatives and banks in the inaugural meeting of the Small Business Economic Forum.

The Forum brought together banks, businesses representatives and ministers, following last Wednesday’s publication of the banking Taskforce, Supporting UK Businesses.

The participants discussed responses to the recent Government green paper, ‘Financing a Private Sector Recovery’, and debated the findings of the Taskforce.

The Forum, chaired by Mr Prisk, will meet up to four times a year. It is an opportunity for businesses representatives and small businesses to share their views with Ministers on enterprise issues, in particular economic issues facing small firms.

Banks will be invited to attend when finance matters are on the agenda. Lord Sassoon, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, is also a member.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“To create the environment for businesses to flourish and boost economic growth Government must keep an open dialogue with industry. The Small Business Economic Forum is an excellent way to do that.

“It is also critical that banks are in attendance. The availability of credit on reasonable terms is absolutely crucial to recovery. So far there is much frustration over banks’ behaviour and this was a good opportunity to hear the views of business on bank lending and banks’ proposals for improving the flow of finance.”

Small Business Minister Mark Prisk said:

“Having started my own business I understand the importance of a working relationship with your bank. In chairing the Small Business Economic Forum I want to ensure that the relationship between businesses and banks is improved and that small businesses are able to access the vital funding they need.”