Ensuring the opportunity of employment for everyone is crucial not only for our economy but so families can support themselves. This is why I was pleased to hear the Exchequer Secretary is announcing £200 million for British businesses to support innovative companies so they can access the finance they need to grow.
This aid for businesses is part of the modern Industrial Strategy and as the UK leaves the EU and the relationship with the European investment Fund changes, we remain committed to ensuring that businesses can continue to develop.
The funding for this project was made available through the British Business Bank to provide loans to small companies looking to increase in size to advance our economy.
This is important as by creating more start-ups and attracting more venture capital funding than any other European country but there is always more which can be done to ensure our small businesses and entrepreneurs can thrive.
The new Industrial Strategy to help small businesses is helped as the number of people in work has risen to a record high, more people than ever before have the economic independence to reach their full potential.
By employment rates rising these growing small businesses can expand further as employment has reached a record high of 32.7 million and in particular the number of women and those in full-time jobs is at a high.
Wages are increasing at their fastest pace in a decade at a rate of 3.4 per cent and rising faster than prices for over a year so hard-working families are keeping more of what they earn.
Impressively, the unemployment rate is 3.9 per cent which is the lowest since 1975, behind every employment number is a person whose self-esteem, mental wellbeing and economic circumstances for these people and businesses are all vastly improved by being in the workplace.