Regional Growth Fund

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 12th November 2010.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what support his Department is providing (a) for small enterprises and (b) to create employment prior to the implementation of the Regional Growth Fund.

Photo of Mark Prisk Mark Prisk The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

A number of measures are being undertaken with the purpose of stimulating growth which is targeting support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

As the regional development agencies are decommissioned I will introduce a new and flexible delivery system which will include a national website, a national contact centre and access to mentors which should help SMEs to grow. I also intend to establish a network of growth hubs in England to support businesses with high growth potential.

The Government will provide highly focused support to SMEs through a renewed and streamlined portfolio of business improvement products through Solutions for Business to be launched by this Department by April 2011.

We are establishing Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) as set out in the White Paper on Local Growth. This will involve local business and civic leaders working together to drive economic growth and create new jobs in their communities.

The coalition Government have articulated their ambition to ensure the flow of credit to viable SMEs. The Government have published their response to the consultation on business finance issues, "Financing a private sector recovery". It is available at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/businessfinance

Government are aware of the need to support small enterprises and we have set out our strategy "Backing small business" which is available at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/backing-small-business

Among other measures, we have confirmed our intention to continue the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme until 2014-15, providing up to £600 million of additional commercial lending to around 6,000 small and medium-sized enterprises next year alone and over £2 billion in total over the next four years, subject to demand.

We have also undertaken to continue the programme of Enterprise Capital Funds by increasing our commitment by £200 million over the next four years, providing more than £300 million of investment for early stage innovative SMEs.

The Regional Growth Fund was launched on 28 October with the publication of the Local Growth White Paper, 'Local growth: realising every place's potential'. It is available at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/news/topstories/2010/Oct/local-growth

Prior to the implementation of the Regional Growth Fund, Government intend to pursue their strategy as stated in "Backing small business" to promote small business procurement by aspiring to award 25% of Government contracts to SMEs.

We also intend to continue to support those starting a business by making it easier for new entrants to enter the market faster and enabling persons on jobseeker's allowance and in social housing to move into self-employment.

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