§ Mr. Tilney
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a further statement on his plans for setting up small firms advisory bureaux.
§ Mr. John Hannam
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has now considered the Bolton Committee's recommendation to set up a new service of small firms advisory bureaux: and what decision he has made.
§ Mr. Anthony Grant
The Government's policy is that small firms should be able to develop the fullest use of resources available to them. I have accordingly decided to accept the Bolton Committee's recommendation that a new information or signposting service should be set up to assist small firms in all sectors of industry and commerce. This new service of small firms centres will be based on the Department's regional organisation, which is being strengthened. It will complement the work of other bodies offering advice to small firms. I hope it will come into operation in the spring of 1973. Estimates provision will be sought in due course.
I have also decided to follow the Bolton Committee's advice and terminate the Department's financial support for the Industrial Liaison Centre Service at the end of July, 1973. I would like to pay tribute to the valuable work which the staff of centres has done with smaller 453W manufacturing firms and I hope that as part of their normal relations with industry and business in general colleges and universities will be able to continue to help these firms. My reason for extending the Department's support to mid-1973 is to give the college and university authorities concerned more time to consider the future employment of their present industrial liaison officers in a new capacity.