Chuka Umunna MP, Labour's Shadow Business Secretary, commenting ahead of the announcement of StartUp Loans and Lord Young’s report on enterprise, said:
“Since Lord Young told us we had ‘never had it so good’ in 2010, the UK economy has shrunk by 0.4%, we’ve been tipped into a double dip recession and the UK has slipped from 4th to 7th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, so any initiative that has as its goal to help small businesses, the lifeblood of the economy, at this difficult time is welcome. I want to see more people setting up, leading and working in businesses, so I am keen that this initiative helps the country achieve those aims.
“However small businesses run by people of all ages are currently facing huge problems in getting the finance they need to grow and take on more employees. More than half of firms applying for an overdraft for the first time last year were rejected, and there are doubts about whether the government’s credit easing scheme will help those firms currently unable to access finance.
“The government has made life more difficult for start ups by dismantling the Regional Development Agencies and other business support which existed under Labour without a proper replacement or transition plan. The Business Link website is no longer being updated, the government’s mentoring scheme has fallen far short of the numbers initially promised, and the LEPs have not been given the resources to meet their full potential, limiting the amount of support which is available for those wanting to start their own business.”