Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Type: Oral Parliamentary Question (OPQ)
    Date of Answer: 03.05.2007
    Column References: 459 c1630
    Member Tabling Question: Lilley, Peter
    Topic: Business Support Schemes
    Question: I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. Is he not rather disappointed in it, and was he not upset when he learned from his officials that the simplification process would take so long? The array of available measures and schemes is so bewildering that, in my experience, it causes business men to go to their Members of Parliament to get help to find their way through it. Is it true that the administration of the schemes costs more than one third of the total made available for them? What is the compliance cost for businesses? Does the Minister have any quantitative evidence to suggest that the gains exceed the total costs borne by the taxpayer and, through compliance costs, by business?
    Answering Department: Dept of Trade and Industry
    Member Answering Question: McCartney, Ian
    Answer: I thank the right hon. Gentleman, in the same spirit as was evident in his opening words. When he was Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, he held a world record: of every three businesses set up, two went bust. In his first year in the post more than 24,000 businesses went bust, and by the time he left office more than 1,000 businesses a week were going bust, so he does not have a good record in supporting business. For every pound that UK Trade and Investment spends in business support, £17 of additional business is created. That is why this country has the largest inward investment and research and development portfolios outside the US. In every region of England, and in Scotland and Wales, the number of jobs is increasing, not decreasing-unlike in the Conservative years, when inward investment was at its lowest. Then, the UK was 24th out of the 24 OECD countries, and the Government of the day were prepared to close down British business instead of supporting it.