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Global Competitiveness

Volume 560: debated on Thursday 21 March 2013

The Government have increased funding to UKTI, with an extra £140 million over the next two years, so that it can double the number of small and medium-sized businesses supported from 25,000 to 50,000 by 2015. We will also help 8,000 small companies attend overseas exhibitions in the next financial year. My hon. and learned Friend is absolutely right about the importance of promoting small businesses and export markets.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer. SMEs in my constituency, such as Destec Engineering, which I recently had the opportunity to visit, are the drivers of both our local and national economies. Does he agree that the measures announced in yesterday’s Budget, particularly the employment allowance and the reduction in corporation tax, will go a long way to helping such businesses grow and compete in the global economy?

My hon. and learned Friend is absolutely right. We believe that the employment allowance measure, on its own, will ensure that more than 400,000 SMEs no longer have to pay employers’ national insurance contributions, which is the boost they need.