COI refused to confirm how much would be spent, but the push is thought to be worth about £2 million annually.
COI is understood to have drawn up a longlist of agencies for the pitch, which is due to be held in May. The media strategy for the campaign is as yet unknown, but COI confirmed that once a list of creative agencies has been drawn up, it would pair them with one of the media partners on its roster. This follows the strategy recently implemented by COI of pairing its creative shops with media agencies for ongoing pitches for the Department of Health and the Department for Work and Pensions.
The pitch is thought to have been prompted by recent claims that the Government has failed to create an "enterprise culture
within the UK since it took office in 1997, because of too much red tape imposed on small businesses. The British Chamber of Commerce has estimated that Labour-imposed regulations have cost businesses a total of £15.06 billion.
The Federation of Small Businesses also complained to the DTI following the Government's new employment bill, which states that from January 2003, all businesses irrespective of size, will have to follow formal disciplinary and dismissal procedures for employees. Currently, all those businesses with less than 20 staff are exempt. A poll showed 66 per cent of businesses thought that the bill would have a detrimental effect on their health.
The chancellor, Gordon Brown, will announce new measures to boost the UK's 3.2 million small- and medium-sized companies in next week's budget.
Brown's proposals will include a shake-up of the VAT system. This will allow small businesses to calculate how much they are liable to pay using a percentage of their turnover instead of working through the details of each individual transaction. This could save fledgling companies up to £1,000 each year.
Other proposals that could be included in the campaign include making commercial property transactions exempt from stamp duty and bringing in a new community investment tax credit, which will that mean entrepreneurs in deprived areas of the UK are eligible for tax breaks.