New support for small businesses
Enterprise Minister, Matthew Hancock, has announced plans to make it easier for SMEs to grow and create jobs as follows:
- new broadband vouchers – 22 cities across the UK will benefit from up to £100 million of broadband vouchers worth up to £3,000 each to help more small firms boost their business by accessing faster and better broadband connectivity
- a fairer deal on energy – an agreement from the major energy firms to end auto-rollovers for business customers, limit back billing, increase transparency of contract terms and make switching easier
- access to £230 billion of public sector contracts – implementing Lord Young’s recommendations, which were accepted in May 2013, to make it easier and simpler for small firms to win public sector business
- tackling late payment of small firms –from now on all small businesses who supply the public sector in a supply chain will be paid at the same time as big contractors. Ministers are also consulting on new measures to tackle late payment in the private sector
The new measures follow the support for small firms outlined in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, which included an extension of the doubling of Small Business Rate Relief to March 2015; a business rates discount of up to £1,000 for retail premises with a rateable value up to £50,000 and making it cheaper to employ staff aged under 21.