Measures to strengthen supply chains and reduce the burden of regulation were announced by the Business Secretary Vince Cable.
Speaking at the Federation of Small Businesses conference Dr Cable set out the practical steps Government is taking to help SMEs and boost business investment and cut red tape, including:
The £125 million Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative, which will open for applications from 29 March; and
A new 'Focus on Enforcement' campaign to identify where inappropriate or excessive enforcement of regulation is holding companies back.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
"This Government has an absolute commitment to clearing away the barriers that act as a brake on growth for British SMEs. That is why, for example, we are not just reviewing whether there is still a case for each regulation, but now we are going to tackle how regulations are actually enforced as well. That commitment to lighten the load lies at the heart of our strategy for achieving economic transformation and recovery.
"In addition the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative will help build manufacturing capacity and ensure that more of the necessary components can be sourced in this country. We will support projects that deliver economic growth, greater competitiveness and safeguard or generate jobs.
"We will also increase the supply of capital through non-bank lending channels via our £100m SME focused Business Finance Partnership, targeting finance channels other than loan funds."
The Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative has been set up to help the existing supply chain grow, achieve world class standards and encourage major new suppliers to come and manufacture in the UK.
This initiative, to be run by Birmingham City Council, will provide grants and loans to successful projects demonstrating real ambition to create globally competitive supply chains.
The funding can support a combination of investment in capital equipment, associated R&D, and training and skills in recognition of the flexibility needed to overcome the barriers that suppliers and supply chains can face.
Vince Cable today also launched the Focus on Enforcement campaign - asking business to tell us where enforcement can be improved, reduced or done differently and to discover and celebrate where it works well, so others can learn from it. Government will pick up the best ideas for change submitted and look swiftly at how we can improve the experience of regulatory enforcement in those business areas.
Urging businesses to put forward their ideas for change and improvement to the Focus on Enforcement website, Dr Cable added:
"The Government knows that ill thought-out regulations cost businesses time and money - which is why it devised the Red Tape Challenge. But sometimes the regulations are fine, it is inconsistent, inappropriate or overlapping enforcement that is the problem.
"Focus on Enforcement gives all businesses, but especially smaller and medium sized firms that often feel the disproportionate weight of inspection and compliance, the chance to make a real difference to the way regulators visit, inspect and advise business and enforce the law."
Source: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
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