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Setting Up Businesses

Volume 600: debated on Thursday 15 October 2015

16. What steps the Government is taking to support more women in setting up their own businesses. (901571)

The Government are committed to supporting women to start and grow their own business. Last year 5.7% of women in the UK were involved in starting or running a new business, and we would of course like that number to grow. The start-up loan scheme provides mentoring and financial support to entrepreneurs. It has now made over 28,000 loans worth over £150 million, with 38% of those going to women-led businesses.

Does the Minister agree that by extending the provision of free childcare we are helping more women into work and enabling more women to start their own business? Women in my constituency certainly agree that that would be a big help in doing so.

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point, and I wholeheartedly agree. I am delighted that tax-free childcare could provide about 1.8 million families across the UK with up to £2,000 of childcare support per child per year. This will be rolled out from early 2017. I welcome the fact that for the first time self-employed women will be able to benefit from this vital childcare support.