§ 14. Miss Emma Nicholson
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received from small firms following the Budget proposals; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Nicholls
Small firms have welcomed the changes announced recently in the Budget. In particular the reductions in rates of personal taxation represent a further encouragement to the strong and expanding small firms sector.
§ 33. Mr. Conway
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the progress of the small firms service.
§ Mr. Cope
The small firms service, through its information and counselling arms, works to promote the growth of viable and profitable small businesses, and is increasingly developing its help to established businesses. In 1987–88, in England, it handled more than 266,000 inquiries and gave 39,138 counselling sessions. Inner city businesses are receiving extra help with the establishment in 1988 of six new inner city offices and the recruitment of specialist business advisers. The service's annual report for 1987–88 is planned for publication in the summer.