SMEs to be offered use of empty government offices

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, is set to announce that disused government offices will be made available to new and existing SMEs.

The offices, available on one-year leases, will be under-used and disused civil service offices, which ministers plan to sell in order to cut costs and reduce the deficit.

“The first priority for the ones we aren’t using is to sell them off, but in the meantime, many are going to be sitting idle. So let’s match the capacity we’ve got with the need that’s out there,” the Prime Minister will announce later today. “Let’s provide office space where we can to those who can use it.”

More than 300 government buildings are expected to be put on the market for entrepreneurs to rent at low rates for one year. The tax-payer subsidised programme will be only available to small firms, with specialist “business incubation organisations” managing and allocating the spaces.

Cameron will announce the initiative as part of a new “Business in Everyone” programme, to be unveiled today, which aims to encourage people to start their own business. As well as being supported by the government, the programme is backed by the CBI, Startup Britain, the Social Enterprise Coalition and the FSB.

Using video tutorials, workshops and web-based seminars, the “Business in Everyone” initiative seeks to raise awareness of the free services the government offers to SMEs and would-be entrepreneurs. More on the campaign later today.

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