§ Mr. Wills
There are many initiatives, arising from the December 1998 Competitiveness White Paper, which are intended to increase support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These initiatives will benefit SMEs in all regions, including the East Midlands.
On 10 March 1999, Official Report, columns 367 –79, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State set out a detailed implementation plan for each of the commitments in the Competitiveness White Paper. A copy of the Competitiveness White Paper implementation plan has been placed in the House of Commons Library.
My right hon. Friend's announcement also included details of the Small Business Service. This service will directly address the needs of small businesses by making improvements in the quality and coherence of the delivery of services to small businesses both at local level and, where appropriate, nationally. The department will be publishing a consultation document in the near future on the specific role and functions of the Small Business Service. I will be welcoming views from all interested parties.
On 12 March 1999, Official Report, columns 399 –400, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, announced the creation of British Trade International, a unified DTI/FCO operation which will lead the Government's activities on international trade promotion. This new organisation will 443W improve the level of service which is provided to those SMEs currently exporting and those who wish to export. Sir David Wright took up post as Chief Executive of British Trade International on Tuesday 4 May.