The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills was created in June 2009 and has made strong early progress. Below is a list of our achievements in the 10 weeks to the end of October.
We’ve continued to do a lot to offer Real Help to get people and businesses through the recession. And now we’re also focusing on future growth with Peter Mandelson’s growth plan for Britain’s recovery.
We pledged £340 million of repayable funding to Airbus in August to help the next generation of aircraft take off, demonstrating our commitment to the advanced manufacturing sector as part of New Industry, New Jobs.
Low carbon continues to be high on the agenda. In September, we announced a £10 million loan from BIS’s Automotive Assistance Programme to support £25 million of investment in developing and manufacturing electric vehicles in the UK. And we extended the popular scrappage scheme in September with an extra £100 million to take up to 400,000 old and polluting vehicles off the road.
Young people will be able to study for new qualifications in enterprise and entrepreneurship after the National Enterprise Academy opened its doors in September. It’s the brainchild of Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Peter Jones and is backed by BIS in partnership with employers, including Orange.
The Backing Young Britain campaign, launched in September, calls on employers to offer a young person work experience, a volunteering place, an apprenticeship or internship. We also joined forces with the Federation of Small Businesses to offer internships in small businesses to up to 10,000 graduates.
We launched a new workplace rights helpline in September to help vulnerable workers. The Pay and Work Rights helpline on 0800 917 2368 provides a single point of contact for both employers and workers. And in October, BIS set out the Government’s plans to give Britain’s 1.3 million agency workers a fairer deal in the workplace.
The biggest overhaul of company law was completed in October when the final elements of the Companies Act 2006 came into force. Two and a half million British companies will benefit from a range of measures that simplify and strengthen the way they do business.
A new package of measures benefitting business by cutting the costs of new laws was announced in October. It defers 26 planned regulations until April 2011, saving businesses £3.5 billion, and sets a new target to strip out a further £6.5 billion from the costs of regulation.
Plans were announced in October for a £37 million Bioscience Campus in Hertfordshire to drive innovation and create a world-leading hub for early-stage biotech companies. It’s part-funded from the UK Strategic Investment Fund, established as part of New Industry, New Jobs.
On the skills front, latest statistics released in October show that a record 234,000 people started apprenticeships in the 2008/09 academic year. And we launched innovative new models to help small businesses take on over 14,000 more apprentices.
The latest UCAS figures for university applications, released in October, showed more students than ever before will take advantage of the record number of funded places on offer.