Empty Government Offices Let to Start-ups
Start-ups and small-business owners will be able to rent empty government offices at reduced rates, under new plans unveiled by the Prime Minister.
More than 300 vacant government buildings around the country could be opened up to fledgling small businesses, with flexible one-year leases and extras like business support to help firms get established.
Announcing the plans, David Cameron said the Government had a “huge stock” of buildings at its disposal.
“The first priority for the ones we are not using is to sell them off but, in the meantime, many are going to be sitting idle,” he said.
“So let’s match the capacity we have got with the need that is out there.”
The scheme will be “up and running within the year, once suitable properties had been assessed”, according to a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesman, who said the initiative would make “productive use” of buildings otherwise lying empty.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) welcomed the scheme, but said that small firms “needed certainty” when trying to grow.
“We’d want to make sure that there was some security for small firms,”
said FSB spokeswoman Sara Lee.
“Knowing they could stay put for a certain length of time is important.”
In a separate move, Cameron also announced the launch of a campaign to inspire people to start their own business. The Business in You campaign, launched in partnership with Startup Britain, will run throughout 2012 and aims to highlight the range of help and support available to budding entrepreneurs and existing businesses.
A dedicated website offers free advice, web-based seminars and video tutorials on issues such as finance as well as providing details of mentoring services and local workshops.
The Forum of Private Business (FPB) said the entrepreneurship campaign was a sign that the Government was “rolling its sleeves up and getting stuck into the issue”.
“Start-up businesses need all the help they can muster in order to grow and flourish, particularly in the current climate,”
said FPB chief executive Phil Orford.