§ Mr. Kirkwood
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the number of firms in(a) Roxburgh and Berwickshire, and (b) the Scottish Borders that are eligible for the small firm loan scheme (i) now and (ii) following widening of the scheme's eligibility. 
§ Nigel Griffiths
Eligibility for the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme is based on the business having a viable business proposal but lacking the collateral to obtain conventional finance. It is not possible, therefore, to estimate the number of businesses eligible now and following the recently announced changes on the basis requested.
Detailed information is available at county level. During Financial Year 2001–02 the scheme guaranteed 16 loans for businesses in the Scottish Borders at a value of £710,000. It is estimated that overall the changes will result in a 25 per cent. increase in the number of applications received.