Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : John Healey promotes enterprise and skills in Northamptonshire [January 2005]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 19 January 2005.

Enterprise and high skilled jobs are the key to long-term prosperity in Britain, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury – John Healey MP – has outlined today in a visit to Northamptonshire. He has pointed to the Government’s commitment to take tough decisions to achieve American levels of business creation and ensure that, at every level, Britain has the best-educated and most flexible workforce in the world.

There are 300,000 more businesses in the UK than in 1997 but if the UK had a business start up rate equivalent to the US, 1.8 million more businesses would be in place. And if the East Midlands had a start up rate equivalent to the most enterprising areas in the UK, it would have extra 15,500 businesses.

To encourage and listen to regional views on Government policy plans in advance of this year’s Budget, Mr. Healey today visited Catalyst Corby, an urban regeneration company, local businesses at Northants Chamber of Commerce, and agencies including the Regional Development Agency and Learning and Skills Council. He also pointed to the recent Pre-Budget Report, which included:

  • The publication of Philip Hampton’s interim report on rationalising inspection and enforcement regimes;
  • New rules guiding the implementation of European Union regulations;
  • Significant reductions in compliance burdens for small businesses through the integration of HM Customs & Excise and the Inland Revenue;
  • Measures to improve support for small businesses by challenging the Regional Development Agencies to use their new devolved powers to go beyond the one-size-fits-all business advice of the past and provide focused, tailored mentoring and support for small firms;
  • Accepting in full the Graham Review recommendations to increase the effectiveness of the Small Firms Loan Guarantee scheme, deregulating Business Angel investors in small firms, and making tax changes to facilitate university spin-outs;
  • Roll out by 2007-08 of the National Employer Training Programme following successful pilots in the East Midlands area; and
  • the establishment of the Leitch Review looking at long-term skills requirements.

The visit – one in a series to regions around the country – is a chance for those involved with skills and enterprise in Northamptonshire to contribute their views to preparations for this year’s Budget.

John Healey said:

“In any successful modern economy the presence of start up firms and high-growth businesses is vital. If we are to maintain the hard won growth and stability in the UK economy, we must raise skills levels, encourage innovation and invest more in technology. This is why the Government is determined to rise to the challenge of securing an enterprise culture and skilled workforce that can provide US levels of business start up.”