What the Autumn Statement means for small businesses

Small businesses are set to benefit from the Autumn Statement as Chancellor George Osborne revealed an array of plans to support businesses this week.


A package to boost bank lending came in the form of Capital Enterprise Funds, with £400 million set aside to extend the government-backed venture capital funds.


The Treasury has also said it wants to guarantee up to £500 of new bank lending to SMEs, with both schemes set to be administered by the British Business Bank.


The Funding for Lending scheme to boost bank lending to firms is also set to be extended for another 12 months, providing another source of finance for SMEs.


This extension is set to focus purely on small businesses which Osborne described as the “lifeblood of our economy”.


The Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme guarantees 75% of an SME’s bank loan, meaning lenders only have to cover 25%.


It is hoped that the funds will aid attempts by the Government to unlock £10 billion of finance for SMEs by 2017/18.


Businesses that create skilled jobs through apprenticeships are also set to receive assistance as they will no longer be charged National Insurance.


Nearly two million people have taken apprenticeships since 2010 and the Conservative party have promised to aim to create three million roles if they win the upcoming election.


The new plans announced in the Autumn Statement are designed to complement existing long-term initiatives aimed at helping SMEs to access finance. This is often viewed as one of the main issues faced by small businesses as finance is not always readily available.


A lack of funds early in a business’ development can lead to other issues for these companies should something go wrong and new firms are said to be most at risk in their first three years of operation.


At the first sign of any issues, businesses should seek professional help to limit any damage.


An insolvency practitioner, for example, could provide advice on how to limit any negative impacts and find appropriate solutions to business issues and prevent further problems from arising.


By Phil Smith


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