To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what figures he has available for the number of small firms operating in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
Comprehensive information on small firms is not available. Information for the period 1980–85 for Scotland and the other regions of the United Kingdom on the stock of firms registered for value added tax was published in "British Business" on 31 July 1987, and information for the period 1980–83 on changes in the stock by size of turnover was published in "British Business" on 2 November 1984. Copies of these publications have been placed in the Library.The Government have introduced a succession of measures to stimulate small business development, and these have gone a long way both towards lifting many of the administrative burdens faced by small companies and towards helping small companies to become more flexible and responsive to market pressures. In this context the small firms sector in Scotland has made an increasing contribution in recent years to employment and economic development.