§ 47. Mr. Anthony D. Wright (Great Yarmouth)
What response she has had on her initiative to improve links between the Government and business. 
§ The President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mrs. Margaret Beckett)
I informed the House on Thursday 11 May of the decision to establish the business co-ordination unit in my Department—my answer appears in the Official Report at column 433W. I am pleased to report that the unit is now fully staffed and operational, and is making a significant contribution to improving Government contact with all sectors of business across the UK. The responses to the establishment of the BCU of which I am aware have been uniformly positive.
§ Mr. Wright
Will my right hon. Friend say whether the BCU will be of positive benefit to the chamber of commerce in Great Yarmouth? What will the new initiative target for the business community be?
§ Mrs. Beckett
I recently had the pleasure of meeting the presidents of the British Chambers of Commerce, and I can tell my hon. Friend that that organisation has very much welcomed the establishment of the BCU. Part of the unit's purpose is to ensure that a better system is devised for the many groups and bodies who want to have contact with Ministers. The aim is to establish such contacts across Government, not merely in Departments that customarily deal with the business community in their daily work.
§ Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham)
Given that the right hon. Lady has set herself the admirable objective of improving links with business, will she say when she intends to study the speech made by Mr. Chris Humphries, the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, on 20 January this year? He said that despite their rhetoric, the Government had dramatically increased the regulatory burdens that threaten small business competitiveness.
§ Mrs. Beckett
I am indeed aware of that speech, and have discussed the issue with Mr. Humphries. However, I am sorry and surprised that the hon. Lady—[Laughter]—I beg his pardon, I meant the hon. Gentleman. I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman has not quoted some of the more recent speeches made by 804 Mr. Humphries, which have welcomed many of the steps that the Government have taken in their partnership with business.