§ Mr. Stern
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to provide grants to accountancy firms to enable them to provide advice to small businesses; and whether he will ensure that the grants are provided to firms whose size, experience, and continuing interest are likely to match the needs of the business concerned.
§ Mr. Trippier
The Department is conducting a small pilot experiment in the west midlands—as part of the west midlands initiative—which aims, with the aid of grants, to encourage a limited number of businesses to take accountancy advice in order to improve their financial information and control systems.
An important aspect of the scheme will be to ensure that small firms are advised by accountancy practices which, in terms of experience, price and understanding of small business problems, offer clients the vest value for money.