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Small Businesses: Beer

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what support his Department makes available to micro-breweries, with specific reference to (a) new businesses and (b) social enterprises. (201253)

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform does not have any specific measures to address the needs of micro-breweries. However, Business Link has been created to act as the primary channel for all businesses providing them with access to the help and support they need to start and develop their business. The service provides business with information, helps diagnose their needs and then identifies and connects them to appropriate public and private sector solutions.

Businesses can access the service in a number of ways. The national website http://wwvv.businesslink.gov.uk, provides a wealth of information and tools designed for all types of business. This is supported by a network of advisers across England managed by the Regional Development Agencies but delivered locally. Advisers offer a mix of "light touch" and in-depth support services tailored to meet the specific needs of individual businesses. Access to these face-to-face services can be obtained by calling the national helpline on 0845 6009006.

Responsibility for Social Enterprises now rests with the Office of the Third Sector (OTS). Officials in BERR, OTS and the Regional Development Agencies are working together to ensure organisations delivering Business Link services are aware of the needs of Social Enterprises and can identify suitable solutions specifically designed to meet their needs.

In addition, on 12 March, Government published a renewed enterprise strategy which aims to make the UK the most enterprising economy in the world and the best place to start and grow a business. The strategy contains a number of measures to help small businesses, such as micro-breweries, to grow. These include measures to reduce regulatory burdens, for example by considering exempting small firms from new regulations, and measures to help businesses to access the finance they need to grow, for example the strengthening of the small firms loan guarantee scheme, which is available to businesses regardless of sector. The strategy is available at

www.berr.gov.uk/enterprisestrategy.