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Business: Cannock Chase

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 19th October 2012.

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Photo of Aidan Burley Aidan Burley Conservative, Cannock Chase

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to support businesses in Cannock Chase constituency.

Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

We want to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business, and for the next decade to be the most entrepreneurial and dynamic in Britain's history. That is why, in January, the Prime Minister launched “Business in You”, a major campaign to inspire people to realise their business ambitions and to highlight the range of support available for start-ups and growing businesses.

We have introduced a range of measures to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK:

Ensuring SMEs can access the support and advice they need to start and grow

We have changed the way that we help people access the information, guidance and advice they need to start and grow a business. We have put in place a range of services including; is the new home for Government services and information online, has been built to make it simpler, clearer and faster for people to find what they need from Government. To help those that cannot use internet service, we will continue to offer support through the Business Link helpline (on 0845 6009006).

A mentoring portal providing an easy route to find experienced business mentors.

A new three year “GrowthAccelerator” programme which will provide high quality coaching support for up to 26,000 SMEs with high growth potential.

Ensuring SMEs can access the finance they need

In July, the Government and Bank of England launched the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS), which allows banks and building societies to borrow at cheaper rates from the Bank of England for periods of up to four years. The FLS creates strong incentives for banks to increase lending to UK households and businesses by lowering interest rates and increasing access to credit.

Launched a new £10 million Start-Up Loan Scheme aimed at 18 to 24-year-olds.

Increased the funds available to invest through the Business Finance Partnership (BFP) to £1.2 billion. Government will allocate £100 million of the BFP to invest through non-traditional lending channels that can reach smaller businesses.

Continuation of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme until 2014/15, providing, subject to demand, over£2 billion of additional lending.

Announced a new £50 million Business Angel Co-Investment Fund to encourage Business Angel investment.

Continuation of the Government's Enterprise Capital Funds programme, increasing our commitment by £200 million, providing for more than £300 million of venture capital investment to address the equity gap for early stage innovative SMEs.

Welcomed the report of the industry review of non-bank lending chaired by Tim Breedon and will take forward its recommendations, including encouraging prompt payment by larger firms.

A £2.4 billion Regional Growth Fund operating across England from 2011 to 2015 which supports projects and programmes that lever private sector investment creating economic growth and sustainable employment.

Ensuring that regulation supports business growth

Introduced a ‘one-in, one-out' rule whereby no new regulations which impose costs on businesses can be brought in without regulation of an equivalent value being removed.

In April 2011 the Government introduced a three-year moratorium on new domestic regulation affecting micro businesses and genuine start-ups.

The Red Tape Challenge is tackling the stock of regulation via a comprehensive thematic review which aims to identify regulations that could be removed, simplified or done in a different way.

Addressing the way in which regulation is enforced at the front line through a series of sector-based reviews of enforcement to examine whether national and local regulatory enforcement was being undertaken and placing the minimum necessary burden on business.

To reduce barriers to businesses taking on new staff Government has announced significant deregulation of employment law, including increasing the unfair dismissal qualifying period from one to two years from 6 April 2012.

Encouraging exporting SMEs

Government will spend £35 million to double, from 25,000 to 50,000, the number of SMEs that UKTI supports a year by 2015. Many components of the UKTI product are aimed at SMEs:

Passport to Export is a trade development programme offering new and inexperienced exporters help and support to build the capability to start exporting proactively and make their first visit to an export market. Launched in 2001, it has helped around 14,000 SMEs as of January 2012.

Gateway to Global Growth offers experienced SME exporters the opportunity to increase their exporting skills and awareness of what is on offer from UKTI and private sector suppliers. The aim is to help them enter more difficult markets or expand in existing ones.

Market Visit Support provides assistance to new to export and/or new to market SMEs visiting overseas markets, individually or in groups as part of their trade development process.

Budget 2012 set out an ambition to more than double annual UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020 through additional measures including expanding the overseas role of UK Export Finance to enable it to develop finance packages that could help UK exporters secure opportunities identified through UK Trade & Investment's High Value Opportunities programme.

Local Business Support

The “Local Growth” White Paper set out Government's vision for a localised approach to rebalancing the economy, with key private and public sector partners coming together to drive growth and create employment across functional economic areas. Since then, 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across England have formed and are now working to ensure that local economies can support existing businesses, enterprise and long-term growth. Cannock Chase benefits from being part of two LEP areas: Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP and Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire LEP. Both have set up specific services to support business development in their areas. For example, businesses in Cannock Chase can benefit from a dedicated helpline set up by the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire LEP (0300 111 8002), who have also responded to significant demand by holding a series of well attended ‘Access to Finance’ events. The “Business Hub”, led by Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP provides another useful source of support to local SMEs and larger organisations in the area

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