§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions his Department has had with the Treasury on measures to aid retailers' investment in specified security equipment for stores under 3,000 square feet. 
§ Ms Blears
[holding answer 3 December 2003]My officials have consulted Treasury colleagues on the possible use of tax incentives to encourage the installation of physical security measures by businesses. However, we are not convinced that a tax incentive scheme is the best way to help small retailers facing crime problems. In particular, it could be perceived as unfair in that it would offer no assistance to businesses (arguably those in most need of help) that do not make enough profit to pay corporation tax. We also understand that the administration and compliance costs of such a system (to both businesses and the Government) would be high.
However, the Home Office has received £15 million funding from the Treasury's Capital Modernisation Fund for the Small Retailers in Deprived Areas initiative. By the end of this year, this scheme will have provided security measures and environmental improvements to over 12,500 small retailers and businesses in some of our most deprived areas. Part of the evaluation of this scheme will assess the effect this funding will have had in promoting the benefits of crime reduction and encouraging the recipients and others to take forward further crime reduction activity.