Trade & Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt today launched a major review of the UK Government’s cash support for business.
In her first keynote speech as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Ms Hewitt announced the radical review of the DTI’s £1bn business support budget as part of a drive to help UK businesses ‘get to the future first’.
‘The Government cannot protect businesses from changes in technology and the global economy nor should we try to do so,’ said Ms Hewitt, speaking to the AEEU Conference in Blackpool. ‘But the Government does have an important role in creating the right environment in which businesses can prosper and in helping businesses get to the future first.’
Ms Hewitt said the review would focus on industrial support and manufacturing, and wider business support.
‘Business support is a vital part of DTI activity,’ added Ms Hewitt. ‘The DTI spends around £1bn a year, delivered direct to firms or through intermediaries such as Business Links. I believe these schemes can be better targeted, to provide better value for money and less confusion for business.’
In her speech Ms Hewitt also pointed to a number of companies in different regions of the country and different sectors of the economy who had made the most of new technology.
For example, Web Dynamics, a Bolton textile company, which has enjoyed growing success by integrating innovation and technology. The company moved from producing traditional fabrics to modern technical materials used in a host of sectors including construction, leisure and healthcare and seen its turnover increase as a result.
The Trade and Industry Secretary said Trade Unions also had a new role to play in ensuring that employees in the UK were able to make the most of opportunities ahead.