§ Mr. Gordon Marsden
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps the Government has taken to help small businesses in Blackpool, South since 1997. 
§ Nigel Griffiths
The Business Link Operator for North and West Lancashire has provided assistance to 1,647 enterprises in the Blackpool constituencies since 2001. (Statistics are not available specifically for Blackpool South). The Small Business Service was set up as 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 from April 2001. Before this date Government Support to business was provided through training and Enterprise Councils and the SBS does not have access to this data.
243 of the 1,647 companies who received assistance were pre start-ups. The type of assistance provided include IT support, Investors in People, International, and Business support.
Under the Research and Development Scheme (R&D) six companies have received offers of grant with a total value of £335,128 since 1997.
Under the Enterprise Grant Scheme (EGS) eight companies have received offers of grant with a total value of £261,950.