§ Miss Geraldine Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what help the Government are providing to small firms to encourage e-commerce. 
§ Ms Hewitt
I refer my hon. Friend to the answers given to my hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Connarty) and my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, South (Ms Moran) on 2 March 2000,Official Report, column 337W, which described the activity of the DTI-lead Information Society Initiative.
Since then, as well as launching our Technology Means Business programme which aims significantly to improve the environment of support for small businesses, we have received an extra £60 million package from the Chancellor's Budget. This will focus on ramping-up existing services to the SME community. It includes £10 million to boost the existing network of ISI Advice Centres throughout the UK and inject greater urgency into the Government's awareness campaign; and £20 million for the SBS to create a 'Gateway' through which people can get guidance, advice and information needed to run or start a small business. Additionally, the tax benefits for SMEs following the Budget include 100 per cent. first year capital allowances, the Research and Development Tax Credit for SMEs, and tax reliefs to promote corporate venturing.