HC Deb 13 June 2002 vol 386 cc1389-90W
Jeff Ennis

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to support the start-up of new businesses in disadvantaged areas. [58236]

Alan Johnson

We are spending £170 million over the next three years through the Phoenix Fund and a loan fund for Business Incubators across all regions of England.

We are currently running 96 Phoenix Development Fund projects in disadvantaged areas and amongst under-represented groups, including one project in Barnsley. So far the Development Fund has enabled the start-up of 424 new enterprises and the creation or safeguarding of 1,613 jobs.

We are also supporting 46 Community Development Finance Initiative projects in disadvantaged areas and are currently progressing support to a CDFI in the South Yorkshire area.

The Phoenix Fund is also making £1.5 million available for seven City Growth Strategy initiatives—putting enterprise at the heart of regeneration. A further £3 million is aimed at rural areas through the Development Fund for Rural Renewal.

In addition, the SBS's Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme has guaranteed loans to the value of £5,588,149 to 106 businesses in South Yorkshire.

The SBS recently published (May 2002) a consultation document as part of the process for developing a comprehensive strategy for Start-ups. One of the key objectives in developing the strategy will be to identify and remove barriers (real or perceived) that discourage those in under-represented groups and disadvantaged areas from starting a business, so that the gap between their numbers and the national average is reduced.

The DTI will measure its progress in promoting enterprise in this way by reducing the 35 per cent. difference in business start up rates between the 20 per cent. most prosperous and the 20 per cent. most disadvantaged wards.