HC Deb 21 April 1994 vol 241 cc604-5W
Mr. Alton

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what are his plans for consulting small and medium-sized enterprises on their needs to ensure that their competitiveness in the European Economic Area according to the Community guidelines for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Mr. McLoughlin

My Department continues to be in constant liaison with small and medium-sized enterprises, through discussions and through its research programme. It continues to discuss the needs of SMEs with small firms' representative organisations, academics and other policy makers. My Department also consults the networks of training and enterprise councils, European information centres, and the developing network of business links. This continuing dialogue with SMEs and with all the key players in the field ensures that we are aware of, and address, the problems and needs of SMEs in the United Kingdom.

We seek to influence the European Commission's directorate-general XXIII to keep regulations to a minimum and to ensure that any assistance for SMEs is targeted where it will have most benefit, and that European assistance is provided only where it is not more appropriately provided at member state level.

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