|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what initiatives announced by his Department since November 2009 to assist (a) small and medium-sized enterprises and (b) individuals (i) have been implemented and (ii) remain to be implemented; on what date each was implemented; and if he will make a statement. 
The Business Payment Support Service, launched in November 2008, supports small businesses to make use of the Time to Pay scheme which allows companies to spread their tax payments over a timetable they can afford. This was extended at PBR 2009. Since its launch, the Government have arranged some 305,000 agreements, with more coming through every day. Some companies have been able to benefit more than once, allowing over 160,000 companies to defer over £5.2 billion in tax. The Business Link Health Checks has provided over 117,000 businesses with free and impartial advice. In addition, regional development agencies help hundreds of thousands of businesses each year. Thousands of businesses have also been able to claim tax relief which has been extended on losses from one to three years. The Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme is enabling additional bank lending to thousands of small and medium-sized businesses, extended in PBR 2009. Through Train to Gain, over 80,000 businesses have received support to enable their staff to undergo training. In total, well over 300,000 businesses have received support. And in addition, the PBR 2009 decision to further defer the increase in the Small Companies' Rate of corporation tax from next month, will help around 850,000 small businesses.
1.8 million properties owned by business will also be able to improve cash flow by spreading an increase in business rates over the next three years which allows for the deferral of up to £700 million.
The UK Innovation Investment Fund is backing British innovation, currently consisting of £325 million of public and private investment with the potential to raise £1 billion of investment over the next 10 years. The Government are also proposing to reduce the burden of regulation enabling small businesses to get on with their work.
Building on the September Guarantee that ensures all 16 and 17-year-olds are offered a suitable place in learning, by guaranteeing the offer of a place on an Entry to Employment programme-for those young people aged 16-18 who are not yet ready or able to enter apprenticeship, employment or further learning opportunities;
Providing a new Young Person's guarantee for 18 to 24-year-olds to ensure access to jobs, training and work experience opportunities after six months claiming for jobseeker's allowance; and
Creating an additional 35,000 new advanced apprenticeships for 19 to 30-year-olds over the next two years, almost doubling capacity and creating a new class of British technician-filling a longstanding gap in the British labour market.
Mr. MacShane: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent reports he has received on (a) anti-Semitic and (b) anti-Israel speeches made by speakers at British university campuses; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department has received a number of letters from Jewish students following a Jewish student lobby of Parliament about "hate speakers" on some university campuses. My right hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Mr. MacShane) has also written to me about a reported anti-Israel speaker appearing at two universities.
Decisions about external speakers must rest with universities themselves. In this area universities are bound by the law both in protecting freedom of speech on campus, even if that free expression is controversial, and protecting students and staff against harassment or violence. The Government have made clear that there is no place for anti-Semitism or any other form of racism or intolerance in HE. Universities have access to guidance from both Government and the sector itself on promoting good campus relations, which draw out the considerations institutions need to give to free expression on campus and to addressing illegal behaviour.
There is a very clear dividing line set out in law between political debate, discussion of doctrine or faith and incitement to commit or glorify violence or terrorism. This line should not be thought vague. When the law is broken on campus those responsible must be reported to the relevant authorities. There is both a moral duty and importantly a legal obligation to do so.
The Government have extended the scope of FSA regulation to include the sale and rent back market. Regulation will bring important protection for consumers in this market, preventing exploitation of vulnerable homeowners and providing means of redress for those who experience problems.
Full regulation of this market will commence in June 2010 but, in recognition of stakeholders' concerns, the Government have put in place real protections for homeowners now by introducing an interim regulatory regime in July 2009.
The FSA has started gathering data on the number of sale and rent back agreements entered into by regulated firms since the outset of the interim regime. However, figures are not available at this early stage.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills when he expects to provide a response to the Office of Fair Trading's recent recommendations on the regulation of home buying and selling. 
Greg Mulholland: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many businesses employing (a) fewer than 10, (b) between 11 and 50, (c) between 51 and 100, (d) between 101 and 200 and (e) over 200 employees have been declared insolvent in Leeds, North-West in each year since 2000. 
Self-employed traders may be declared bankrupt (or enter into an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA)). While official regional figures down to constituency level for self-employed bankrupts are maintained from calendar year 2000, the number of employees (if any) is not available.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department has made an assessment of the likely effects on small businesses which provide access to the internet of the provisions proposed in the Digital Economy Bill; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: This Department and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport made an assessment of the likely effects of the provisions proposed in the Digital Economy Bill in the Bill's Impact Assessments, republished on 16 March 2010 to take account of amendments made in the House of Lords. Copies are available in the Commons Vote Office and will be placed in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills who was invited to the LSC Recognition Event referred to in item 3.1 of the Learning and Skills Council national council minutes of 9 December 2009; and what the cost was of the event. 
Kevin Brennan: The event was to recognise the significant contribution of LSC non-executive members to the learning and skills agenda prior to the organisation's abolition on 31 March and to encourage their continuing support to public service in the future. A selection of LSC national council members, regional council chairs and members, along with a limited number of key personnel from LSC national and regional offices were invited to the event. A total of 104 people attended.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate has been made of the number of learners with learning difficulties and or disabilities who will be categorised under the provision of the Adult Learner Responsive sub-total for the Foundation Learning (excluding Skills for Life) category in the Strategy Document, Skills Investment Strategy 2010-11, November 2009 in (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10 and (c) 2010-11; and if he will make a statement. 
It is for learners to declare whether or not they consider themselves to have a learning difficulty and/or disability (LDD). As a result, the actual number of learners in this category accessing FE and skills provision will vary from year to year depending on demand, but has been around 200,000 each year from 2006/07 to 2008/09 academic year (the latest whole year for which data is available).
Within this overall total, learners with LDD follow various courses, depending on their personal preferences or the nature of their disability. It is therefore not possible to say how many learners of the total with LDD will pursue courses that would be categorised as Foundation Learning through Adult Learner Responsive route. The Skills Investment Strategy 2010-11, does, however, set out the commitment that the total adult FE and Skills budget will provide sufficient funding to maintain volumes at the level of previous years.
Robert Neill: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether any businesses in ports have informed (a) his Department and (b) the Insolvency Service that they have gone into liquidation as a consequence of their payments of backdated business rates in the last six months. 
businesses in ports is not a standard industry classification and therefore is not recorded;
addresses are not available to then be able to count companies giving a port as part of their address;
causes of failure of companies in liquidation are not recorded centrally.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the causes of type 1 diabetes; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lammy: The Medical Research Council (MRC) is one of the main agencies through which the Government support medical and clinical research. The MRC is an independent body which receives its grant in aid from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The MRC funds a broad portfolio of diabetes research amounting to £28.1 million in 2008-09, of which £6.5 million was directly relevant to type 1 diabetes. Much of the research funded by MRC involves both type 1 and type 2, and often includes both underpinning studies and studies on the prevention, treatment and the downstream consequences of type 1 diabetes.
The MRC always welcomes high quality applications for support into any aspect of human health and these are judged in open competition with other demands on funding. Awards are made according to their scientific quality and importance to human health. The MRC does not normally allocate funds to particular topics, and research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. When appropriate, high quality research in particular areas of strategic importance may be given priority in competition for funds, but research excellence and importance to health continue to be the primary considerations in funding decisions.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what the reasons are for the time taken to announce the preferred bidder for the Natural Environment Research Council's research vessel. 
Mr. Lammy [holding answer 22 March 2010]: The Natural Environment Research Council is still going through the formal procedures in relation to this procurement. No announcement will be made until these are complete.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what rate of interest will be charged on the £80 million loan to Sheffield Forgemasters announced on 17 March 2010; what the repayment period is of the loan; what guarantee his Department sought from Sheffield Forgemasters in respect of that loan; and whether the European Commission has approved that loan under state aid rules. 
Mr. McFadden: The offer of conditional support to SFIL is in the form of a £80 million direct loan. Although the key heads of the deal have been agreed some details will not be finalised until after commercial due-diligence is completed and European Commission approval has been granted.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will estimate the number of (a) hotels, (b) cafés, (c) bars, (d) train operators, (e) launderettes and (f) other small businesses that provide open wi-fi services; and if he will make a statement. 
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has made a recent estimate of the number of business users of open wi-fi; and if he will make a statement. 
Danny Alexander: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills when he expects to answer question (a) 315627 and (b) 315628, on debt recovery agencies, tabled on 1 February 2010 by the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey. 
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 6 January 2010, Official Report, column 360W, on aerials: planning permission, what his Department's timetable is for amending planning policy guidance on telecommunications. 
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|