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House of Commons Hansard
Government Assistance
23 March 2010
Volume 508
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To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what initiatives announced by his Department since November 2009 to assist (a) small and medium-sized enterprises and (b) individuals (i) have been implemented and (ii) remain to be implemented; on what date each was implemented; and if he will make a statement. [321887]

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The Government have taken measures that have assisted hundreds of thousands of companies across the country.

Large numbers of businesses have benefited from the actions taken to stabilise the banking system and keep credit flowing.

The Business Payment Support Service, launched in November 2008, supports small businesses to make use of the Time to Pay scheme which allows companies to spread their tax payments over a timetable they can afford. This was extended at PBR 2009. Since its launch, the Government have arranged some 305,000 agreements, with more coming through every day. Some companies have been able to benefit more than once, allowing over 160,000 companies to defer over £5.2 billion in tax. The Business Link Health Checks has provided over 117,000 businesses with free and impartial advice. In addition, regional development agencies help hundreds of thousands of businesses each year. Thousands of businesses have also been able to claim tax relief which has been extended on losses from one to three years. The Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme is enabling additional bank lending to thousands of small and medium-sized businesses, extended in PBR 2009. Through Train to Gain, over 80,000 businesses have received support to enable their staff to undergo training. In total, well over 300,000 businesses have received support. And in addition, the PBR 2009 decision to further defer the increase in the Small Companies’ Rate of corporation tax from next month, will help around 850,000 small businesses.

1.8 million properties owned by business will also be able to improve cash flow by spreading an increase in business rates over the next three years which allows for the deferral of up to £700 million.

The Growth Capital Fund to attract private sector investment for UK small and medium-sized businesses will be implemented later this year.

The UK Innovation Investment Fund is backing British innovation, currently consisting of £325 million of public and private investment with the potential to raise £1 billion of investment over the next 10 years. The Government are also proposing to reduce the burden of regulation enabling small businesses to get on with their work.

There are a number of other initiatives to help individuals, especially young people. For example, the Government are:

Building on the September Guarantee that ensures all 16 and 17-year-olds are offered a suitable place in learning, by guaranteeing the offer of a place on an Entry to Employment programme—for those young people aged 16-18 who are not yet ready or able to enter apprenticeship, employment or further learning opportunities;

Providing a new Young Person’s guarantee for 18 to 24-year-olds to ensure access to jobs, training and work experience opportunities after six months claiming for jobseeker’s allowance; and

Creating an additional 35,000 new advanced apprenticeships for 19 to 30-year-olds over the next two years, almost doubling capacity and creating a new class of British technician—filling a longstanding gap in the British labour market.

Further measures will be announced in the Budget.