§ Mr. David Shaw
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales 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. David Hunt
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. In Wales the latest available figures show that in 1989 the total number of businesses registered for VAT was 85,200; an increase of 21 per cent. on 1980. The Department's specific policies to encourage enterprise in Wales are:
Support for Local Enterprise AgenciesThere are currently 23 Local Enterprise Agencies in Wales. Three more organisations have in the year to June 1990 applied to become approved Local Enterprise Agencies and are at present being considered for approval.
Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs)TECs will take over responsibility for delivering the Small Firms Counselling Service from 1 April 1991. The advent of TECs allows an added dimension of local employer-led flexibilities to be built into these services and TECs will be able to integrate these into their other enterprise programmes. The Mid Glamorgan and West Wales TECs commenced operations on 23 July; the five remaining TECs will come on line early in 1991.
Regional Selective Assistance, Regional Enterprise GrantSmall businesses continue to take advantage of the help available under Regional Selective Assistance. In the year to the end of June 1990, 145 small firms (employing less than 200 people) accepted offers of RSA totalling just over £11.4 million. These results are almost identical to the previous year. A further 289 small firms (employing less than 25 people) accepted offers of Regional Enterprise Grant totalling £2.52 million. This compares with 261 small firms accepting offers of £2.18 million in the previous 12 months.
Enterprise WalesLaunched in January 1988, the Consultancy Initiatives have proved extremely popular in Wales. More than 2,800 companies have applied. In 1989–90 alone, 1,174 Business Reviews were carried out, 27 per cent. above economic weight, and 885 projects were commissioned, 19 per cent. above economic weight.
WDA Advisory Services—Small business inquiriesDuring 1989–90, a total of 13,000 sessions of advisory visits and interviews have been conducted by the WDA's Business Development staff. Small Firms counsellors undertook over 10,000 first time visits to clients during the same period.