HC Deb 17 November 1987 vol 122 c518W
65. Mr. Bowis

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many new small businesses were created in 1986–87.

Mr. Cope

In 1986, the latest year for which figures are available, the number of businesses registered for VAT is estimated to have increased by 29,000. This was the net result of 193,000 registrations and 164,000 deregistrations.

76. Mr. William Powell

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on his Department's policy of purchasing goods and services from small businesses.

Mr. Cope

The purchasing policy of my Department places special emphasis on the role of small firms in achieving value for money. This policy is set out in guidance and training to all my Department's staff who now have greater discretion to use commercial suppliers since we have signed new customer agreements with the central procurement agencies.

More generally, as Minister responsible for small firms, I am concerned to promote their role in Government purchasing as a whole. Small firms can face particular difficulties when trying to break into these markets, but to overcome this my department is encouraging simplified procedures for Government purchasing and improved information such as the small firms service's booklet "Tendering for Government Contracts".