§ 77. Mr. Alex Carlile
asked the Paymaster General what measures he has taken to encourage provision of venture capital for small and growing enterprises; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Trippier
The Government's economic policies have created a climate in which enterprise is encouraged and rewarded and people are willing to invest in the wide range of commercial opportunities that now exists. The venture capital market in the United Kingdom has expanded rapidly since 1979. The establishment of the unlisted securities market, the over-the-counter market and the third market have provided easier access to equity capital for small and growing companies.
Specific Government measures to facilitate the supply of finance include the business expansion scheme which offers tax relief to individuals investing in unquoted companies. The venture capital scheme enables income or corporation tax relief to be claimed on losses incurred on disposal of new shares issued by unquoted companies. My Department and the Department of Trade and Industry have also provided support for seminars, conferences and other activities to promote the supply of finance to small and growing enterprises. The small firms merit award for research and technology (SMART) run by the Department of Trade and Industry has assisted small firms to develop projects, and seminars are to be run to enhance their prospects for venture capital investment.