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The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Ms Patricia Hewitt): The Small Business Service (SBS) is today publishing its business plan for 200506. I have placed copies of the plan in the Libraries of both Houses. It is also available on the SBS website at: www.sbs.gov.uk.
The SBS published a Government action plan for small business in January 2004. The plan identified a set of practical actions focused on improving policy and delivery as it affects small business. For the first time, it aligned contributions from the whole of government behind clear objectives for encouraging enterprise and improving the environment for small business. Implementing the action plan and working with government partners to refresh it remains a priority for the SBS this year.
The business plan also sets out the ways in which the SBS will develop its capabilities to ensure that it is equipped to play an enhanced policy leadership and influencing role within government, across the regions and internationally on small business issues.
Increase enterprise awareness in young people by supporting a further "Make your Mark: Start Talking Ideas" campaign culminating in a successful second "Enterprise Week" in November 2005 targeted on people in a wider 1430 age group.
Hold a conference on risk capital in October 2005 as part of the UK's EU Presidency to highlight the importance of risk capital for small businesses with growth potential, and explore ways of increasing its availability in the UK and elsewhere in the EU.
Work with the SBS's lender partners to launch a simplified, better targeted and more consistently available form of the small firms loan guarantee by December 2005 in line with the recommendations of the Graham review.
Encourage female entrepreneurship by implementing recommendations being made by the Women's Enterprise Panel to increase the proportion of women-owned businesses by March 2006, and take decisions on whether to establish a National Women's Business Council by July 2005.
Work in partnership with the English regional development agencies to focus the business link service on information, diagnostic and brokerage services, and further improve on current levels of business link market penetration and customer satisfaction by April 2006.
Improve small business access to public sector procurement and R&D opportunities by launching a supplier route to Government web portal by October 2005, and re-invigorating the Small Business Research Initiative so that more government departments are meeting the target of procuring 2.5 per cent. of their R&D from small and medium size businesses by March 2006.
Complete a review of the UK's key regulatory and administrative processes using the World Bank's "Doing Business" survey as a benchmark and, with the Small Business Council, make recommendations on the scope for streamlining and simplifying these processes by January 2006.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. David Jamieson): The Secretary of State for Transport has set a range of high-level targets for the 200506 year on behalf of the Agencies within the Driver, Vehicle and Operator Group; the Driving Standards Agency, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the Vehicle Certification Agency and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency. They are included in the Agencies' Business Plans together with their associated measures. The plans also include a range of management targets, performance indicators and key tasks which are appropriate to the Agencies' businesses and which reflect the wider DVO change agenda. Copies of the Business Plans will be placed in the Library shortly.
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