§ Mr. Barry Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what steps his Department is taking to help increase the net contribution to employment growth among firms with between 20 and 50 employees.
§ Mr. Eggar
The Government's policy is to create a beneficial climate for small businesses generally, mainly by encouraging conditions of fair competition and minimising regulation, and by providing a complementary range of fiscal, financial and advisory measures.
Within this policy, my own Department's services include the loan guarantee scheme, action to improve Government purchasing opportunities, the small firms service and a wide range of training schemes for small businesses. All these services offer particular benefits to firms with growth potential, including those with more than 20 employees.
Among the training schemes the new business growth training programme, introduced in April last year, contains a number of options which are particularly relevant to this group and which are designed to help them plan and manage their growth.
I have also taken action to alert small business organisations to recent research published by my Department showing a relatively poor job creation record by firms employing 20 to 49 staff. These firms face substantial market, management and technological challenges which they can meet more successfully with the support of the network of organisations representing or providing a service to small businesses.