asked the Secretary of State for Industry what arrangements his Department has made to examine the management education needs of the small business community.
My Department, in association with the Department of Education and Science and the Training Services Agency, has recently commissioned the Manchester Business School to undertake research into the management and business education needs of the manufacturing sector of the small business community and the extent to which these needs are being adequately met by existing facilities. The study will concentrate, in particular, on an examination of the needs and current provision in respect of certain industries in which production by small firms represents a substantial proportion of the industry's net output. The research is expected to take about a year to complete and the possibility of conducting similar studies into the management and business education needs of other sectors of the small business community will be considered in the light of the conclusions reached on manufacturing. It is hoped that the study will provide, in regard to manufacturing, a basis for considering improved ways of meeting the management and business education needs of small businesses and the extent to which existing resources might be more effectively utilised.