§ Mr. David Shaw
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the achievements of(a) his policies and (b) his Department in helping small businesses over the last 12 months as against the previous 12 months; and if he will publish the performance indicators by which his Department monitors those achievements and the statistical results of such monitoring.
§ Mr. Waddington
The Government have continued to place a high priority on helping small businesses, through improvements to the business climate, through deregulation and other measures, and through specific programmes of support and assistance. The success of these policies is136W demonstrated by the latest statistics which show a record increase in the number of businesses registered for VAT of 1,700 a week during 1989. Over the decade the overall increase has been 373,000.
Over the past 12 months, the Home Office has helped small firms by continuing to develop and improve the information, access and opportunities necessary to enable them to tender for our business. We have revised and reissued a booklet entitled "Selling to the Home Office", which, together with the list of contact points for each of our local establishments throughout England and Wales, provides details of our typical purchasing needs and guidance for potential suppliers on where and how to make the initial approach. This has been reinforced by the provision of a central point of contact in the Home Office for general supplier inquiries and representation at exhibitions and seminars held locally for small firms.
Home Office performance indicators on purchasing are directed to securing better value for the money we spend, and do not differentiate between the size of firms to which contracts are awarded or provide statistical information about the business placed with small firms.