By Jonathan Davies

Half of the UK's MPs haven't heard of the government's policies designed to promote small businesses.

Research from The Entrepreneurs Network and law firm Bircham Dyson Bell found that 55% have never heard of Catapult Centres, organisations set up by Innovate UK to promote research & development projects for small businesses.

Perhaps more shocking, 48% of the 100 MPs polled said they've not heard of Innovate UK, the body set up by the UK government.

Nearly 60% were unaware of the government's £100 million seed investment fund, Angel CoFund. And more than half (53%) hadn't heard of the 2013 Patent Box legislation, which helps entrepreneurs to profit from their intellectual property.

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), which was introduced in 2012, was a mystery to half of MPs.

"There is a discrepancy between the strength of MPs' opinions about what would benefit entrepreneurship in the UK and their understanding of the current policies in place," the report pointed out.

"I'm not at all surprised by this research," said Emma Jones, founder of entrepreneur network Enterprise Nation.

"This is one of the reasons we've called for a dedicated small business unit within the Department for Business.

"Is small business high enough on these MPs' priority list? Post-election, it seems not. The new small business minister [Anna Soubry] hasn’t even run a business before. If the MPs don’t know about these policies, then their constituents might not either."