HC Deb 25 June 2002 vol 387 c792W
Mr. Evans

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent steps her Department has taken to support small rural business. [63528]

Nigel Griffiths

The DTI and the Small Business Service (SBS) are supporting rural business in a number of ways.

The Development Fund for Rural Renewal, part of the Phoenix Fund, is supporting 20 projects with grants totalling £3 million. These projects aim to help rural business communities that have been affected by foot and mouth.

The Business Link network provides services to all small businesses including small rural business and some have specific programmes targeted on this sector. The SBS is pulling together examples of good practice in helping small rural businesses to assist Business Link operators in this work.

The Business Link website, www.businesslink.org, is being enhanced to include specific advice on rural issues and signposting the others who are also able to assist rural businesses.

There are many other activities taking place at local and regional level, many in co-operation with regional development agencies.

SBS has recently published research on 'Encouraging and Supporting Enterprise in Rural Areas" and will be looking to use the results of this research in discussion with others active in supporting rural businesses.

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