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Volume 632: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2017

13. What assessment he has made of the effect on the economy of an increase in the number of start-ups. (902597)

The UK is a world-leading place to start a business. Start-ups create jobs, attract investment and bring innovative products and services to market. The UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises have created 2 million new jobs since 2010. We want our start-ups to grow and succeed in the new economy, and that is why the Chancellor announced at the Budget a comprehensive package to unlock over £20 billion of new investment in innovative businesses.

Start-ups and small businesses, including those in my constituency, form the backbone of local economies. I shall be visiting some of them this weekend as part of Small Business Saturday. Can my hon. Friend update the House on what more is being done to support micro and small businesses?

I shall be visiting small businesses in my constituency of Harrogate and Knaresborough as part of Small Business Saturday. I agree entirely with my hon. Friend: small businesses are indeed the backbone of local economies. That is why the Chancellor responded to the No. 1 ask of business in the Budget by announcing a £2.3 billion package to reduce business rates—it follows the business rate relief announced in the 2016 Budget, which was worth approximately £9 billion over five years —and why our modern industrial strategy will provide continued funding for growth hubs to ensure that businesses can access support locally.

What assessment has the Minister made of the impact on the economy of small businesses that have been started up by disabled entrepreneurs? How can he champion that activity, and harness the full potential of people with disabilities for our economy?

The hon. Lady has made a valuable point, and I entirely agree with her. Simply by raising the question in the House and discussing it in our political system, we are highlighting the fact that disability should not be a problem when it comes to starting businesses.