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Female Entrepreneurs: Government Support

Volume 682: debated on Wednesday 21 October 2020

All the Government’s business support schemes are open to eligible businesses from all regions and backgrounds, including female entrepreneurs. The start-up loans programme has provided more than 30,000 loans worth over £239 million to female entrepreneurs as of June 2020. Additionally, we are working with the private sector to deliver the eight initiatives of the Rose review. Great progress has been made over the past year, with the joint NatWest and Be the Business female entrepreneurs mentoring programme to be launched soon.

I thank the Minister for the detailed measures he set out. More women work in sectors and industries that are hardest hit by the covid-19 crisis. Can he outline, with a particular view to childcare, the help that we can offer women with successful businesses and careers to get them through the difficult months ahead?

I thank my hon. Friend for her concern, especially about childcare. We have already introduced 30 hours of free childcare for eligible working parents of three and four-year-olds. We have ensured that wraparound childcare remains open, to support parents to continue to work under all three covid levels. As set out in our manifesto, the Department for Education will be investing £1 billion from 2021 to help create more high-quality wraparound and holiday childcare places, including before and after school and during the school holidays.