Page last updated at 10:27 GMT, Thursday, 11 December 2008

Extra support as firms struggle

A shop window
The agency said it treated struggling businesses with "the highest priority"

A further 23 million is to be spent on support for small businesses during the economic downturn, the London Development Agency has announced.

As well as funding ventures which have "good prospects", it will back seminars offering advice for struggling firms and people whose jobs are in jeopardy.

The agency will add the funding to the 150 million already allocated in 2008.

The money will be available through schemes including the Business Link advice service and JobCentre Plus.

Funds will also be spent on promotional leaflets in local newspapers listing ways to obtain support and guidance, as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the help available to individuals and companies.

Harvey McGrath, who chairs the agency, said London's small businesses faced "significant challenges" at the moment and his organisation was treating the matter with "the highest priority".

"By investing public money in support programmes that will help London's businesses survive and prosper, and that will help Londoners get and keep a job, the London Development Agency is at the forefront of maintaining London's economic success."

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