MP raises concerns about inconsistent support for businesses taking on apprentices

Peter Aldous raises concerns about inconsistencies about the level of support for small and medium-sized businesses taking on apprentices and asks if local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) could have a role in co-ordinating such schemes.

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): The Government have introduced a variety of initiatives to support small and medium-sized enterprises to take on apprentices, which are welcomed by Lowestoft college in my constituency. However, there is a concern that a postcode lottery is developing, in that a number of different schemes and levels of support are available across the college’s catchment area. Is the Minister aware of that, and does he agree that local enterprise partnerships could have a role in co-ordinating such schemes?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Skills (Matthew Hancock): As my hon. Friend knows, I am a passionate supporter of small businesses and of apprentices in them. The majority of apprentices are in small businesses and the Government do what we can to encourage that. In some places, local authorities top up the support we give. I am thrilled when they do so, but if we can do more to ensure that provision is consistent across LEP areas, we should do it.

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