Mayor unveils measures to support London’s small businesses
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today announced a range of measures to help support small businesses in the capital through the current economic downturn. Speaking at the London Development Agency’s (LDA) annual public meeting the Mayor welcomed the LDA’s planned £23m package of public sector support, which will be available for small to medium sized businesses in the capital from December.
The measures include a funding package of more than half a million pounds, with which the LDA is backing Visit London’s promotion of London overseas as a number one destination, offering first-class value for money and investment in London’s infrastructure. Further LDA investment will see £2 million being put into the upgrading of the Dockland Light Railway to Beckton – adding to its capacity and helping promote jobs and skills in the area.
The current economic downturn means that more businesses - and the people who work in them - are feeling the pinch. The LDA plans to invest a further £20 million in business support. This will include bringing forward a range of access to finance programmes so that it can provide even better support to start-up companies and small and medium sized businesses who have good prospects and who provide regeneration benefits.
The LDA’s support will also help London’s businesses retain and build their competitive edge – through better use of design, by making links with London’s unparalleled higher education sector and by protecting intellectual property rights. The new programme includes a series of LDA-sponsored business recovery seminars run by KPMG and Deloitte and coincides with an LDA market awareness campaign, with pamphlets in local borough papers setting out where to get advice on jobs and training, as well as supplying contact details for support and guidance.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:
“It has been encouraging over the past six months to see real achievements and a new outlook implemented at the LDA. The current economic downturn makes it all the more clear that the refocusing of the LDA’s investment programme towards promoting jobs, skills and economic growth is the right approach. It gives a focus on the key issues for the capital’s residents and businesses, helping to ensure that our city emerges in a stronger position once the upturn arrives.”
“The LDA is making great strides in shaping its investments through a critical and robust examination of which actions it can take to maximise value and impact, and deliver the key improvements London needs.”
London Development Agency Chair, Harvey McGrath said:
“The LDA recognises the significant challenges faced by London’s businesses in the current economic downturn and is treating this with the highest priority. By investing public money to help London’s businesses survive and prosper and help Londoners get and keep a job, the London Development Agency is ensuring that London remains an economic success.”
Alongside this support for businesses, the LDA is supporting schemes to help Londoners get into work. These include working within the framework set by the London Skills Employment Board, which is ensuring a coordinated, and business focussed approach from the agencies working on skills and employment in London. The LDA has launched Relay London Jobs, a network of job brokerage services that aims to match individuals to jobs across the capital. The LDA will now look to extend its services to target those people who have lost - or are about to lose - their jobs, to help get them back into work as quickly as possible. Another programme - Personal Best - aims to get people closer to the job market through volunteering – using the excitement building toward the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games - and providing the basic skills needed to get a job.
Notes to editors
* The London Development Agency aims to improve the quality of life for all Londoners - working to create jobs, develop skills and promote economic growth.
* LDA is backing Visit London’s new campaign that highlights that London is a valued destination and experience for tourists and business travellers. It is expected that the LDA funding will be supported by match funding from other organisations.
* The London Development Agency is working with the London Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Confederation of British Industry, JobCentre Plus, the Learning Skills Council and the London Boroughs to ensure London’s businesses have access to – and know about – the comprehensive, integrated package of support available.
* The LDA has contracted Business Link to provide business support services in London. Business Link provides businesses large and small with access to advice and support twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Business Link can identify what individual businesses need and match them to suitable business support.
* Companies register onto CompeteFor and then get notification of contracts that match their products and services. The CompeteFor system also identifies those companies that need further support to become ‘fit to compete’ – and refers them onto another LDA-funded service called Supply London.
* The LDA’s Childcare Affordability Programme helps thousands of parents overcome one of the biggest barriers to sustained employment in London – the high cost of childcare. These costs can make it impracticable for many parents to work. The LDA’s programme has been so successful in supporting around 8,000 parents that the national Government has decided to expand it across the country from April 2009.
* The London Development Agency is sponsoring a series of business recovery seminars run by KPMG and Deloitte on Cash Management and Cost Reduction, New Money, Doing Deals in Difficult Times and Strategies for Winning New Business.
* The business support services currently backed by the London Development Agency:
o Business Link in London
o Knowledge Connect
o Supply London
o British Library Business and Intellectual Property (IP) Centre
o Train to Gain
o Business London
o Think London
* The LDA’s partner organisations include:
o Learning Skills Council
o JobCentre Plus
o London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
o Confederation of British Industry
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