§ Nigel Griffiths
The Business Link Operator for East Lancashire has provided assistance to 927 companies in the Burnley constituency since 2001. The Small Business Service was set up is an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry in April 2000. Contracts were exchanged with a national network of 45 Business Link Operators (seven in the North West) to provide Business Support to small and medium-sized enterprises form April 2001. Before this date, Government Support to businesses was provided through Training and Enterprise Councils and the SBS does not have access to these data.
325 of the 927 companies were starts assisted, those companies who began trading between 1 April 2001 and 31 March 2004.
Companies have received offers of grant from the Research and Development Grant Scheme with a total value of £193,604 since 1997.
Under the Enterprise Grant Scheme, which has recently closed (31 March 2004), 11 companies have received offers of grant with a total value of £314,000 since 1997.
Overall 5,970 companies were assisted in the East Lancashire area, of which 1,666 were business start-ups.
In addition, the Chancellor has taken a number of means to assist SMEs.