HC Deb 04 July 1995 vol 263 cc147-8W
Mr. Clapham

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans the Government have to enable small and medium-sized enterprises in Barnsley to benefit from the teaching company schemes for the transfer of technology from universities through the secondment of graduates. [32266]

Mr. Ian Taylor

The Government are doing much to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to benefit from the teaching company scheme and SMEs in Barnsley and throughout the UK stand to gain substantially from these measures.

In 1994–95, Government funding of TCS was about £18 million. My Department is the largest contributor to TCS programme costs with £6 million in 1994–95, and we have announced an increase of £4 million over the three years from 1995–96 to 1996–97. In addition, the European regional development fund is able to co-finance TCS spend with SMEs in the area of Yorkshire and Humberside which includes Barnsley. This further increases the money available for TCS there.

There are 518 TCS programmes current at 31 March 1995 and 278 have a SME as an industrial partner. But my Department aims to further increase the number of SMEs who benefit from TCS; our target is that 80 per cent of DTI-supported TCS programmes will involve SMEs. The recent White Paper "Competitiveness: Forging Ahead" reported that a network of 11 TCS centres for small firms has been established. These TCS centres offer SMEs easier access to the technology, knowledge and skills available in Universities. By the end of this year, the number of TCS will increase to 17 and will cover the whole of the UK. The two TCS centres for small firms based at Leeds Metropolitan University and at Sheffield Hallam University are both well placed to help SMEs in Barnsley.

Mr. Clapham

To ask the President of the Board of Trade which universities have a teaching company scheme centre set up by his Department to help the needs of small businesses. [32272]

Mr. Taylor

The 10 TCS centres for small firms part-funded by my Department are located at the following universities.

  • The University of Brighton
  • Brunel University
  • The University of Durham
  • Leeds Metropolitan University
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • The University of Plymouth
  • The University of Reading
  • Salford University
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • The University of Warwick

In addition, a TCS centre for small firms administered jointly by the University of Ulster and Queens University Belfast is part funded by the Northern Ireland Office.