Clive Betts MP [Sheffield South East] said today
“The All-Party Business Select Committee has delivered a devastating rebuttal of the reasons given by Nick Clegg and Vince Cable for cancelling the Forgemasters’ loan.
Nick Clegg and Vince Cable said the former Labour government had pushed through the loan for electoral reasons.
The Select Committee said the loan application had followed all the normal procedures and had been signed off by the Permanent Secretary and the Treasury.
Nick Clegg and Vince Cable said the former Labour government has pushed through the loan when there was no money to finance it.
The Select Committee said that former Ministers signed off the loan in the full knowledge that it could be funded.
Nick Clegg and Vince Cable said cuts had to be made in the Business budget and, therefore, the Forgemasters’ loan was unaffordable.
The Select Committee said that Ministers had a choice about where the axe would fall, that they had given the go-ahead to other projects where there was no contractual commitment to do so, that no substantial comparative cost-benefit analysis was undertaken on those non-contractually committed projects and that the Sheffield Forgemasters loan was cancelled simply because it was identified as an easy cost saving.
Nick Clegg and Vince Cable said the loan was inappropriate because Forgemasters was unwilling to dilute equity.
The Select Committee said that Forgemasters’ board members were willing to dilute equity and that this formed part of the loan agreement.”
Clive Betts continued:
“The All-Party Select Committee has demolished every reason that Nick Clegg and Vince Cable gave for cancelling the Forgemasters’ loan. They should apologise to Forgemasters and to the people of Sheffield.
It is now incumbent upon them to urgently consider a further application from Forgemasters. That would be in the interests of the UK and Sheffield economies.”