Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Improving access to finance for SMEs

Delivered in Plenary - 5th February 2013

Mr President

If big business forms the backbone of a modern economy, such as the one in my region of London, then small and medium-sized enterprises could be described as its heart. They have suffered the most under the global financial crisis, so I am delighted to support EU growth measures to boost SMEs and protect them as far as possible from the economic uncertainties and increased red tape of today.

We all know the difficulties that small businesses can encounter, particularly when appealing to investors, and so the Commissionís efforts to foster competitiveness and an entrepreneurial spirit will be most useful. We also need to enable a regulatory regime that facilitates, rather than hinders, investments. By curtailing late payments, for example, it could bring tangible benefits to the recipients of these funds.

This is one area in which the EU can deploy its cohesion policy to promote pro-growth efficiency of investment, reduce the burden of bureaucracy and over-regulation, and allow SMEs the enhanced lending and assistance that so many of them desperately need in the current economic climate.