WINCHESTER MP Steve Brine has joined an all-party Parliamentary group to help protect small businesses from losing thousands of pounds.

The group, made up of around 50 MPs, is investigating the mis-selling of ‘interest rate hedging products’ to small firms.

These products were offered to businesses when they asked banks to take out loans. The borrowers were told the product would provide insurance against the risk of interest rates rising.

But with interest rates falling many businesses have found they have made heavy losses.

Mr Brine, group vice chairman, said: “I have constituents affected by this scandal so it was obvious to get involved.  We will be focusing our energy on securing justice for small business owners and making sure that the banks are never able to cause this kind of harm again by reckless sales practices.”

Group chairman Guto Bebb added many businesses are unsure over what to do if they have a claim and that the Financial Services Authority’s redress scheme launched in June was moving too slowly and was not independent enough to deal with claims.

He said: “That 50 MPs from across the political divide have already joined the group is testament to the serious concerns in Parliament about the problems that swaps are still causing to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) despite the acceptance from banks that mis-selling took place.”