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Colchester among regional ‘hot spots’ for New Enterprise Allowance start-ups

PUBLISHED: 10:06 25 September 2015 | UPDATED: 10:06 25 September 2015

Employment Minister and Witham MP Priti Patel.

Employment Minister and Witham MP Priti Patel.

Archant

More than 5,000 businesses have been started by jobless benefit claimants in the East of England since the launch of the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme four years ago.

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that a total of 5,210 start-ups have been launched in the region under the scheme, out of a national total of more than 73,000.

The NEA, which was launched in April 2011, provides people receiving unemployment-related benefit who can demonstrate a sound business idea with financial support and a business mentor to help them get their enterprise off the ground.

Among the regional “hot spots” for the creation of businesses under the scheme is Colchester where there have been 201 NEA start-ups, just behind the leaders, Central Bedfordshire, Norwich and Southend, each of which has seen 220 businesses launched.

The DWP has now launched a review, being carried out by businesswoman Michelle Mone, of how the Government can support more people from disadvantaged communities, such as those with high levels of unemployment or lower achievement in education, to become their own boss.

Employment Minister Priti Patel, the MP for Witham, said: “This scheme helps claimants with a good business idea to become their own boss so they can support themselves and their families, and turn their lives around.

“We want everyone in all parts of Britain to benefit from the opportunities being created by our growing economy. We are supporting people, regardless of their background or where they are from, who want to work hard and get on.”

The NEA is open to jobseekers, lone parents and people on sickness benefits with a good idea for a business. People on the scheme get expert help and advice from a business mentor who will help them to develop their business idea and write a business plan. If the business plan is approved, they are eligible for financial support payable through a weekly allowance over 26 weeks up to a total of £1,274.

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