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Business Support

Volume 697: debated on Tuesday 18 December 2007

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Competitiveness (Stephen Timms) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Tomorrow my department is publishing a formal response to the consultation on how government departments, regional development agencies, local authorities and non-departmental public bodies should support business in the future. This looks not just at the support my department provides, but much more broadly across the whole of government at a national, regional and local level.

The formal response document builds on the initial government response to the Simplifying Business Support consultation. It summarises responses received and provides further information on the future, shared framework for publicly funded business support that we are developing in the light of evidence and consultation feedback. This shared framework will enable government and the broader public sector to implement our vision for business support in 2010.

It sets out the principles for making the delivery of business support more efficient and builds on decisions taken in the light of economic analysis and the consultation on Simplifying Business Support on access to business support and business support interventions referred to in paragraphs 4.43 to 4.46 of the Pre-Budget Report. Business Link will continue to be developed as the primary publicly funded access channel to business support. In the spirit of simplification, Business Link will aim to build on best practice partnership working with local authorities, business support providers, business membership organisations and other key partners.

We are also publishing an early stage impact assessment.

We have consulted businesses, including social enterprises, business representatives, local authorities, organisations that support business and other interested parties. The consultation ran from 22 June to 14 September. Copies of the response to the consultation document will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses on 19 December 2007 and the document will be on the DTI website at www.dti.gov.uk/consultations/index.