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Self-employed: Support

Volume 618: debated on Tuesday 13 December 2016

I apologise to the hon. Member for South Down (Ms Ritchie)—I meant Northern Ireland, of course, in my earlier response.

The website and the business support helpline provide information on starting and running a business. Growth hubs also provide access to local and national support, and 4.8 million people are now self-employed.

In South East Cornwall we have some fantastic self-employed people who make a host of excellent food products. Does my hon. Friend agree that there will be opportunities for them to grow their businesses and be released from excessive red tape once we leave the European Union? What advice does she have for them?

The Government committed in their manifesto to reducing the burden of regulation on business by £10 billion during this Parliament. We will also carefully consider the implications of leaving the European Union for the business impact target, and the opportunities to reduce further the burdens on businesses such as the excellent self-employed food producers in South East Cornwall.

False self-employment is a particular issue in sectors such as retail, care and construction. The Gangmasters Licensing Authority is now expected to regulate those industries, which contain more than half a million businesses, yet has only 79 members of staff across the entire UK. Its director of labour market enforcement has not yet been appointed, despite the new powers being in place. Will the Government ensure that they act speedily on that?

I assure the hon. Lady that we are acting swiftly to appoint the director of labour market enforcement. I agree with her that it is a crucial role.