HC Deb 20 November 1997 vol 301 cc280-1W
16. Barbara Follett

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans she has for enhancing the competitiveness of British business.[15406]

Mr. Nigel Griffiths

My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade is pushing forward her Competitiveness UK initiative. On 11 November, she published "A Benchmark for Business", an examination of our competitiveness at both national and sectoral level.

The President also announced the creation of six industry-based Working Parties to advise her on how business and Government can improve UK performance. The work of these groups and of the President's Advisory Group on Competitiveness will lead to a Competitiveness White Paper next year.

35. Mr. Brady

To ask the President of the Board of Trade when she last met representatives of small and medium British businesses to discuss competitiveness.[15427]

Mrs. Roche

DTI policies for all companies are being developed in close dialogue and consultation with business. Within this, there is a particular focus on the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises. SMEs are therefore represented on the president's Advisory Group on Competitiveness and will be an important component in the Competitiveness Working Parties now being established. More specifically, Ministers and officials in this department regularly meet a variety of small firms' representatives to discuss a wide range of issues of concern to this important sector.