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Business Disruption Plans

Volume 495: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2009

2. What steps her Department is taking as part of its civil contingencies responsibilities to increase the proportion of small businesses which have a business disruption plan. (283135)

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 places a duty on local authorities to provide business continuity advice, which ensures that advice reflects local conditions at times of emergency and meets local needs. To support that work, the Government have set up a business continuity advice line and in 2008 we published a national risk register to encourage organisations to prepare for the impact of business disruption. In addition, we are supporting the quality of that advice by the adoption of a British standard for business continuity.

In March, a Cabinet Office survey found that the proportion of small businesses that had a business continuity plan fell from 25 per cent. to only 14 per cent. The possibility of allowing a premium discount with insurers was being considered to see whether that would reverse the trend in respect of companies that had a business disruption plan. Will the Minister say whether she agrees with that strategy and how far the Cabinet Office has got with that investigation?

It is clearly the responsibility of local authorities to pursue that policy with their small businesses and through their local organisations. However, the figures to which the hon. Lady refers rightly give cause for concern, and I am happy to write to her further about that matter.