HL Deb 17 June 1997 vol 580 cc109-10WA
Lord Lucas

asked Her Majesty's Government:

With reference to the statement in the Labour Party manifesto that "We will also promote the extension of the Investors in People initiative into many more small firms", what is their definition of a small firm; how many there are in the United Kingdom at present; how many of them have at least started on the process of obtaining Investors in People status, and what increase they hope to see in this figure over the next three years.

Baroness Blackstone

Government departments have no one definition of a small firm. The national target for education and training for Investors in People already covers organisations with 50–199 employees, and 8,706 organisations in this group are committed to, or recognised against, the Investors in People Standard.

DTI figures estimate that there are around 1.2 million enterprises with fewer than 50 employees in the UK, excluding sole proprietors. The number of organisations with fewer than 50 employees engaged with the Investors in People Standard is 13,096. My department is working with TECs and Investors in People UK to develop innovative approaches aimed at smaller firms. Until that work is completed no estimate can be made of potential penetration over the next three years.