Skip to main content

Small Businesses (Developing Countries)

Volume 589: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2014

8. What steps her Department is taking to reduce aid dependency by promoting small business start-ups in developing countries; and if she will make a statement. (906677)

We are providing support for small and medium-sized enterprises and micro-businesses across our areas of responsibility, because they contribute so much to both employment and economic development.

My right hon. Friend will know that it is hard enough, with some notable exceptions, to get women involved in entrepreneurial activities in this country. What is he doing to encourage women entrepreneurs in developing countries?[Official Report, 18 December 2014, Vol. 589, c. 5-6MC.]

We have provided some 29 million women with access to financial services, and we are supporting the provision of some £26 billion in commercial loans to some 50,000 businesses led by women. Last year at the conference we announced that we would provide support for mentoring for 100 women across north Africa.

It is important that businesses big and small across the world pay their workers a decent wage, yet Conservative MEPs in the European Parliament voted against the global development programme because it included a minimum wage. Is that the policy of the Government as well?

Government policy is that all businesses, particularly small businesses, should pay a living wage, but first they have to generate wealth and entrepreneurs have to begin to provide for businesses before they can pay any wages at all.