The number of self-employed women is at a record high of 1.7 million. We are cutting unnecessary red tape and reducing business rates, making it easier for more women to start their own businesses.
Starting a business is a fantastic opportunity. It provides people with power and control over their life, and it helps contribute to the economy and their family. We are expanding the start-up loan scheme, which has a particularly high take-up rate among female entrepreneurs. I strongly encourage my hon. Friend to talk to his constituents about this excellent scheme and make them aware of it.
Young women with disabilities face double the barriers to becoming entrepreneurs. Will the Department work with my all-party-group on disability to look closely at this issue? We will be holding a series of sessions on it to ensure that we have a truly inclusive economy.
I know that the employment Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Sussex (Mims Davies), has already agreed to meet the hon. Lady to talk about this issue. She is absolutely right that opportunities to start one’s own business are particularly good for people who need additional freedom and flexibility. I commend the scheme that the hon. Lady is running.