New Enterprise Allowance scheme 'helps 1,000s of new firms'
Hundreds of unemployed people are starting up small businesses every week with the help of a government scheme for entrepreneurial jobseekers, according to ministers.
The scheme offers unemployed people an allowance of £65 a week and access to a loan of as much as £1,000 to help with start-up costs.
A tattoo parlour, tapas restaurant, dog grooming and party entertainer are among around 4,500 businesses launched with help from the New Enterprise Allowance.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling said thousands more budding businessmen and women have started working with a mentor to help them draw up a business plan.
The Government was considering changing rules to give jobseekers access to a mentor after three months on jobseeker's allowance rather than the current six-month wait, Mr Grayling said.
"With 4,560 businesses up and running, we're already helping to unleash a new wave of entrepreneurs. I want to make the support available sooner so we can help even more people realise their dreams and become their own boss. Now we'll look at how we can make this happen."
The Enterprise Allowance Scheme was an initiative set up by Margaret Thatcher's Conservative UK government which gave a guaranteed income of £40 per week to unemployed people who set up their own business. It was first announced on 13 November 1981, and piloted between January 1982 and July 1983, funding 3,331 individuals. Introduced nationwide in 1983 against a background of mass unemployment in Britain, it went on to fund 325,000 people, including Creation Records head Alan McGee; Superdry founder Julian Dunkerton; artist Tracy Emin and the founders of Viz magazine. Anyone wishing to claim money under the scheme was required to fund the first £1000 out of their own funds, and also to produce a basic business plan.