§ Mr. Brazier
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what support is available for small and medium-sized firms to develop new products.
§ Mr. McLoughlin
I am pleased to announce that the successful support for products under research programme, which was due to close at the end of March 1994, has been extended for a further 12 months. A budget of £10 million is available for the financial year 1994–95.
SPUR provides help to small and medium-sized companies for the development of new products or processes that can demonstrate a significant technological advance. The scheme provides a fixed grant of 30 per cent. of eligible costs where the need for Government support is established, up to a maximum of £150,000.
In my address to the House on 26 May last year covering my Department's re-focused innovation policy I proposed to limit SPUR to companies with up to 250 employees in order to concentrate on the smaller firms which have the greatest difficulty in raising research and development capital. This will come into effect in the new extension to SPUR.