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London Mayor acts to support small businesses
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08:58, December 03, 2008

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Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, announced on Tuesday 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 23-million-pound (about 34.5 million U.S. dollars package of public sector support, which is available for small to medium sized businesses in the capital from this month.

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 No. one destination, offering first-class value for money and investment in London's infrastructure.

Further LDA investment will see two million pounds being put into the upgrading of the Dockland Light Railway to Beckton in east London, which will add to its capacity and help promote jobs and skills in the area.

The current economic downturn means that more businesses are feeling the pinch. The LDA plans to invest a further 20 million pounds in business support. This will include bringing forward a range of access to finance programs 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 as well as by protecting intellectual property rights. The new program includes a series of LDA-sponsored business recovery seminars, with pamphlets in local borough papers setting out whereto get advice on jobs and training.

"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 program 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," said the mayor.

Harvey McGrath, chair of the London Development Agency, noted that his agency treats the challenges faced by London's businesses in the current economic downturn 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," he added.

The LDA is also supporting schemes to help Londoners get into work, which includes drawing people closer to the job market through volunteering in the run up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


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