HC Deb 12 January 1994 vol 235 cc166-7
6. Mr. Waterson

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has received from the Association of British Chambers of Commerce regarding the effect of the Budget on businesses.

Mr. Sainsbury

The Budget has been well received by business, including the Association of British Chambers of Commerce.

Mr. Waterson

I am grateful for that answer. Has my right hon. Friend received special welcomes for the provision in the Budget aimed at helping small businesses, including such matters as the proposal to lift the often onerous audit requirements? May I inform him that that measure, among others, has been warmly welcomed by members of the Eastbourne chamber of commerce?

Mr. Sainsbury

I am delighted to hear the last part of my hon. Friend's comments. I can confirm that there has been a welcome for the item on audit requirements, particularly among small businesses. It was among a wide range of measures aimed at helping small businesses, all of which were welcomed by the president of the Association of British Chambers of Commerce, who said: We like the help for small firms. We all like to hear that sort of response to the Budget.

Mr. Clelland

In the Minister's discussions with the chambers of commerce, did they mention that millions of pounds of taxpayers' money is being spent on providing training for non-existent jobs? Did they advise him that it would be better for the Government to provide incentives and investment in product development, thereby increasing production and jobs and providing a demand for training?

Mr. Sainsbury

Perhaps I may tell the hon. Gentleman a little more fully what the president said. He said: All in all, it was an astute balancing act which responds to many of the concerns and needs of business".

Mr. Anthony Coombs

Recognising the warm welcome that chambers of commerce gave the Budget, is my right hon. Friend aware of their pre-Budget submissions, which focused on the particular need for management education, especially in smaller and medium-sized firms? Will he confirm that that will be a principal priority of business links and the national vocational qualifications and their extensions to level 5?

Mr. Sainsbury

My hon. Friend is right to identify training in education, including management training, as vital ingredients for the competitiveness of British industry, particularly smaller companies. I can confirm to him that among the Government and other support services that will be funnelled through business links, high priority will be given to those services that help management training and assist smaller businesses in identifying their overall training needs.

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