The Liberal Democrats have pledged to give budding entrepreneurs setting up their own business a £100-a-week allowance to help with living costs if they are in government.

The start-up initiative would run for the first six months of a new business and hand out a total of £2,600, the party said.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, who is launching the party's business programme on Tuesday, said: "While the Conservatives focus on giving tax cuts to giant corporations, our focus is on small businesses seeking to grow.

"And unlike Labour and the Conservatives, we would stay in the single market.


The weekly living allowance pledged to budding entrepreneurs for the first six months


The total cost of the start-up allowance over five years

"Other key policies include reviewing controversial business rates and expanding the state-owned British Business Bank to make it easier for firms to borrow.

"Many firms are struggling to borrow to invest, and that is suffocating an economy being propped up on consumer spending.

"The Conservatives have lost the right to call themselves the party of business. The Liberal Democrats are now."

The start-up allowance would cost £146 million over five years, the Lib Dems said.