§ 17. Mr. Plaskitt
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the progress of the Small Business Seminar. 
§ Nigel Griffiths
The Small Business Service was set up in April 2000.
Latest figures show that Business Links assisted 244,685 businesses during 2001–02.
In addition, Business Links have helped 18,163, new businesses to start-up.
In 2001–02 SBS spent over £154 million in BL programme expenditure—money spent in direct support of SMEs—not running costs—and over £164 million in 2002–03.
The SBS Annual Report 2002 will he published later this month, before the summer recess.