He said: 'Self employment is a vital ingredient in the rural economy. Our research shows that people living in rural areas are more likely to start up their own businesses than those living in cities and that they are more likely to be successful.
'The government already provides a wide range of services for self-employed people and for those considering starting up in business. These service are used extensively, but there is scope to improve access for people living in remote areas.
'The measures we are announcing today will help us to promote more effective support to people in these areas who are self-employed or who wish to set up their own business.
-- The Consortium of Rural TECs and their partners to identify and develop innovative local projects and good practice to encourage self-employment in remote rural areas
-- a new booklet giving guidance for self-employed people living in remote rural areas, outlining what help is available through TECs, further education colleges, Business Links and other agencies
-- a conference for TECs and their partners to discuss effective strategies for promoting self-employment in remote rural areas
-- increased attention by Government Offices, TECs and their local partners to the needs of remote rural areas in the delivery of support services for self-employed people
Mr Paice continued: 'Since the issue of the 1995 White Paper 'Rural England - A Nation Committed to a Living Countryside', we have worked closely with the Rural Development Commission and the Consortium of Rural TECs to evaluate possible new arrangements to encourage business start-ups in rural areas. The measures announced today are the first fruits of that collaboration. '