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Young Persons (Businesses)

Volume 22: debated on Monday 26 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he is satisfied that enough help is being given to encourage young people to start up in business on their own account.

We have taken various steps to encourage enterprise in young people. They are, of course, able to take advantage of the many measures available to stimulate and help small businesses. I am happy to consider any other suggestions that my hon. Friend or others may wish to put forward.

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Does he agree that we should do more to make more young people aware of the rewards of creating their own business? Will he liaise with the Departments of Education and Science and of Employment to see that proper instruction is given in schools and in the new youth training programme to make young people aware of the many possibilities and challenges of starting their own business?

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. Much more is now happening. The Department has an industry education unit. We are currently working on a number of initiatives to encourage young people to think in terms of starting their own businesses. For example, there are films for showing in schools. I shall continue to liaise along the lines recommended by my hon. Friend.

Does the Minister agree that one of the best ways to help young people to set up their own business is to encourage the establishment of cooperatives? What lesson does he learn from the difficulties of the Breckland poultry co-operative in his constituency? Will he make further efforts to help that co-operative?

There is a place for co-operatives, but it must not be over-exaggerated. The lesson of the Breckland poultry firm is relevant. On Saturday afternoon I had a long meeting with those who are trying to get things moving. I have spent a great deal of time trying to help the co-operative. It has decided that it would like to proceed as a private firm, making use of schemes such as the business start-up scheme. I have written to the firm today advising it of other ways in which it can go forword.