§ Mr. Stephen O'Brien
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many firms were given assistance with internet business solutions by UK online for business, in each year since its inception. 
§ Mr. Timms
Since inception, UK online for business has helped several hundred thousand businesses, with over 250,000 interactions with businesses each year. UK online for business offers a wide range of impartial jargon-free information through our adviser network, publications, interactive business tools, a programme of events a comprehensive website and a national network of business advisers who deliver frontline advice to SMEs.
UK Online for business has over 450 partners, which comprise of key partners and a combination of small companies, intermediaries (TAs, professional bodies etc.), local authorities and other Government Departments. We provide a package of support for our advisers/partners who run events. In the financial year 2002–03, 779 events were supported with an estimated SME audience of 161,307. So far this financial year 2003–04 we have supported 528 events with an estimated SME audience of 77,000.
We have over 120 publications some of which are interactive covering a range of business and technical topics. In January 2002, UK online for business launched the existing website, where registered users have increased from 6,876 in April 2002 to over 30,000 in January 2004. In the last year financial year UK online for business call centres dealt with 15,000 calls, 13,500 emails and distributed 1.6 million items of collateral.