The departmental range and cost
of enterprise policy
34. The breadth of these concerns means that enterprise
policy spans the activities of the Treasury, the DTI, the DFES,
the Inland Revenue and other Departments, with substantial enterprise-related
resources at the disposal of the Regional Development Agencies
as well as the devolved authorities in Scotland, Wales, and Northern
Ireland. The role of the Small Business Service (SBS) has been
enhanced to become a centre of expertise for Government on small
business issues, to develop the quality of business support services
and to measure service progress against market outcomes at regional
local and national levels (HM Treasury/SBS (2000b) p.2).
35. The range of policies to support enterprise on
the grounds set out above (para 32 and 33) spans the entire range
of business experience from starting a business, through the trading
and planning environment, investment activity, employment and
training, and growth of the enterprise. The estimated total cost
of this support within the UK was just under £8 billion in
2002. Appendix 6 provides a broad breakdown of this sum by Department.
A detailed listing of this support by programme and administering
department is set out in Appendix 7, whilst Appendix 8 provides
a breakdown by the purpose of the programmes in terms, for instance
of start-up, growth, the trading environment and access to finance.
36. Appendix 6 reveals the full range of departmental
involvement. The total annual sum of just under £8 billion
includes around £2.6 billion of tax relief associated with
the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trust
(VCT) scheme and the range of tax changes associated with setting
lower rates of small firm corporation tax, and changes in capital
gains tax. Around £3 billion is shown as agricultural
support activities which derive from the receipts under the Common
Agricultural Policy (CAP). This money goes to support farming
activity and therefore ranges from small holdings to large corporate
firms. It is not focussed on either SMEs or entrepreneurship
as such but does constitute financial support for companies (farms).
It is worth noting that the UK obtains less than £250 million
a year in EU non-agricultural support funding.