Lord Mandelson was speaking at the CBI National Conference at the same time as Alistair Darling was presenting his Pre Budget Report (PBR) to the House of Commons. He said that the Chancellor had been "very receptive to what I have asked for, for SMEs. Of course, there could be more. But he has not stinted." Later, in response to questions from business owners, he acknowledged that there were "political risks" in the PBR. Mandelson also recognised that entrepreneurs and small business owners were going to be important advocates of the government’s plans. He urged business to respond to the measures positively – "your response will influence consumer reaction." He also urged the media not to "talk ourselves into a worse recession." He also had some words about the behaviour of the banks. Referring to stories of local grip tightening and of changes of terms being e-mailed with only 48 hours to comply, Mandelson said that, if true, "they were cutting off their noses to spite their faces." One initiative of his has been to invite RDAs to report – "in total confidence" – where terms or financces of small firms had been unreasonably denied.
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