My Lords, I declare an interest. I am a partner in a farming business in Northumberland and historically have had involvement in a number of businesses in the north-east. I was also, five years ago, a member of the Adonis review on the economy of the north-east. I, too, appreciate the comprehensive introduction to this debate by the noble Baroness, Lady Massey, and I welcome this report....
My Lords, the recent National Audit Office report was quite damning about the administration of the scheme. Not only are we suffering disallowance because many farmers are not receiving their payments, as the Minister has acknowledged, but some have had to submit a second year’s application form before the first year has been confirmed. They are deeply concerned that they may suffer...
My Lords, in order for the Government to achieve a tripling of apprenticeships, it will be necessary to engage with the SME sector, which dominates the rural space. Many SME businesses find the documentation and bureaucracy difficult; can the Government do anything to help in that respect? Also, can the apprenticeship levy be targeted to try to assist SME businesses where possible?
Entered the House of Lords on 24 October 2011
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