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House of Commons Hansard
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Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
08 January 2018
Volume 634

Small Business Sector

The following is an extract from Questions to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 12 December 2017.

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Despite having the fifth biggest economy in the world—soon to be the sixth—the UK is ranked only 48th in the global enterprise league; 48th out of five really takes some doing. But this is not just about the lack of support for start-ups. Among small and medium-sized enterprises business confidence is falling and costs are rising, and, as the Bank of England’s figures show, access to finance is still at its lowest level since 2010. Do the Government have any excuse for their woeful failure to support our smallest businesses?

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The hon. Gentleman really should stop talking small businesses down, and he is absolutely wrong in his estimate. The UK is No. 4 in the world for being the best place to start a business, and the OECD figures show that we score highly on enterprise. He does raise a valid point about growth, and we need to improve our record in supporting small businesses to grow, which is precisely why the Chancellor has made available a vast amount of money in this year’s Budget to support the growth of small businesses. [Official Report, 12 December 2017, Vol. 633, c. 166.]

Letter of correction from Margot James.

An error has been identified in the response I gave to the hon. Member for Sefton Central (Bill Esterson). The correct response should have been:

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The hon. Gentleman really should stop talking small businesses down, and he is absolutely wrong in his estimate. The UK is No. 4 in the EU for ease of starting a business and No. 14 in the world, and the OECD figures show that we score highly on enterprise. He does raise a valid point about growth, and we need to improve our record in supporting small businesses to grow, which is precisely why the Chancellor has made available a vast amount of money in this year’s Budget to support the growth of small businesses.