Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) featured heavily in Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement on December 5, with the announcement of support measures including help with business rates.
Subsequent to the statement, the £1 billion government-funded Start Up Loans scheme has received a further £250 million in funding in a bid to help SMEs benefit from the economic recovery.
The Start Up Loans scheme is one of a range of government-backed schemes being brought together under the British Business Bank initiative. The bank, being set up by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, expects to generate more than £500 million in new lending and investment for the UK’s smaller businesses each year.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Small businesses are working hard to fuel our recovery and help us build a stronger economy.
“I am determined that we do all we can to help companies that have struggled to get the investment they need – investment that means they can employ those extra people, take on that new order, and buy that new equipment.”
Business-friendly measures included in the Autumn Statement include:
- a business rates cap of two per cent in the 2014-15 financial year, rather than rate rises being linked to RPI inflation
- a business rates discount of £1,000 for retail and food and drink premises with a rateable value of below £50,000 for two years from April 2014
- a 50 per cent reoccupation relief for businesses who relocate into empty retail properties between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016
- from April 2014, a new tax relief will be introduced for companies who invest in new social impact bonds and social enterprises
- scrapping employers’ national insurance contributions for under-21s
- a pledge to double export finance support to £50 billion, while extra backing will go towards helping 50,000 new business start-ups across the UK.