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Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 29th November 2011.

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Photo of Adrian Sanders Adrian Sanders Liberal Democrat, Torbay

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the barriers preventing small businesses from recruiting apprentices; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes The Minister for Universities and Science, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Employers of small and medium-sized businesses and their representative bodies have told us that they face a number of barriers in recruiting apprentices including bureaucracy and framework rigidity that in some cases cost.

That is why we announced on 16 November that we will strip out all additional health and safety requirements imposed on employers, reduce the time it takes an employer to advertise a vacancy for an apprentice to one month and provide the small firms with a financial incentive of £1,500 to help them take on their first apprentice. We will ask a leading employer to undertake an independent review of apprenticeship standards which we expect will identify other areas where we can work to make the apprenticeship programme simpler for employers of all sizes.

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