§ Mr. Heffer
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what active steps are being taken on Merseyside to assist small businesses.
§ Mr. Cryer
To provide accommodation for small businesses on Merseyside the English Industrial Estates Corporation has built 38 nursery units in the three years up to 31st December 1977. A further 22 are under construction. On 19th 617W October 1977 I announced the building of a further 20.
An additional small firms information centre was opened in Liverpool in November 1976. Next month this will be supplemented by a counselling service to help small business men to diagnose their problems and to work out appropriate solutions.
Most small manufacturing companies on Merseyside receive regional development grants under the Industry Act. A substantial proportion of the 49 projects offered assistance under Section 7 of the Act in the year ended 31st December 1976 and 87 projects supported in the year ended 31st December 1977 concerned small businesses. Some small companies on Merseyside also benefit from the sectoral schemes under Section 8 of the Industry Act. Small businesses on Merseyside will also benefit from the measures announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 26th October 1977.
The Government have established a partnership with the local authorities in Liverpool to assist in the inner city's regeneration. Small firms have a vital contribution to make towards this end. Small businesses in the area were given an opportunity to exchange views with central and local government at the conference held in Liverpool last December.