Backing for £16bn support limit

The financial support limit for failing businesses, such as those in the car industry, could be raised from £6.1bn to a maximum of £16bn, after ministers backed the move.

Junior business minister Ian Pearson said Britain was facing "unprecedented" economic difficulties and it was vital to emerge from the global downturn "rapidly and strongly".

He said that raising the ceiling for help allowed to business outside "assisted areas" would provide greater flexibility.

Mr Pearson, opening second reading debate on the Industry and Exports (Financial Support) Bill, said: "It is important that the UK emerges from this global downturn rapidly and strongly.

"The Government has responded and will do whatever it takes to ensure the stability of the financial system and to provide real help to people and business. This Bill gives the Government the necessary flexibility to provide further support to industry."

He said increasing the ceiling would provide greater "legal headroom" and provide for the ongoing delivery of existing support programmes and the latest package of measures announced to help business.

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