§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to improve access to finance for start-up companies. 
§ Nigel Griffiths
[holding answer 24 May 2002]: The Government recognises that the creation of new businesses is important for the health of the economy. The Small Business Service (SBS) is encouraging more people to start their own businesses. Through the network of Business Link operators, it operates a number of programmes aimed at helping small businesses, including start-up businesses, gain access to finance. The latest of this is the Regional Venture Capital Funds launched in January 2002.