The Autumn Statement: a summary for small businesses

Small Business Advice 3 December 2014

Small and medium businesses have been recognised with a number of helpful financial measures in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

The first of these is a promise to increase the amount of capital it offers Enterprise Capital Funds by £400m. These funds invest heavily in small and medium businesses and so this should provide businesses with a much-needed boost.

This chimes nicely with The Bank of England and HM Treasury’s decision to extend the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) for a one year, providing lenders with certainty over the availability of affordable funding needed to support lending to smaller companies.

As well as extending support to lenders, the government said that it would also guarantee a further £500m of direct bank lending for small businesses under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee.

Both funding initiatives will be overseen by the British Business Bank, a development bank set up to cater to the specific needs of UK enterprise.

The Business Bank has already supported £829m of new lending to smaller business and over 35,000 firms have benefited from the bank’s programmes. In total, £10bn will be unlocked over the next five years for smaller businesses.

Further small business benefits were announced by the Chancellor, George Osbourne, he explained, “To support small businesses in local communities, the ‘high street discount’ for around 300,000 shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants will go up from £1,000 to £1,500, from April 2015 to March 2016.”

He added, “This is in addition to doubling Small Business Rate Relief for a further year which means 380,000 of the smallest businesses will pay no rates at all. The government will also continue to cap the annual increase in business rates at 2% from April 2015 to March 2016 – this will benefit all businesses paying business rates.”

The Chancellor concluded by saying, “Finally, the government will extend the transitional arrangements for smaller properties that would otherwise face significant bill increases due to the ending of ‘transitional rate relief.”

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