Attempts to boost Britain’s small businesses will fail or succeed on the devilish details

Andrew Leck

LOOKING to turn the tide of not-entirely-successful business support schemes, in the run-up to this Budget, the Treasury and the Department of Business, Innovation, and Skills unveiled two new projects aimed at boosting Britain’s small businesses. The first, the National Loan Guarantee Scheme, reduces the interest rates of bank loans taken out within the scheme by one per cent. Unlike previous schemes, the government has worked closely with industry bodies – including ACCA – to raise the profile of the project.

Likewise, the Breedon Review of alternatives to bank lending for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) has proposed greater involvement for industry bodies in SMEs’ hunt for finance. Breedon recommends a kite-marking scheme for those suitably qualified to help SMEs get the finance they need. Again, ACCA and other accountancy bodies have been brought on board.

Bringing groups on board that have both regular contact with SMEs and an incentive to promote the schemes, the government may have just found a way to combat the low take-up of previous projects. As with anything the government does, the likelihood of success and failure is in the detail, not the headline. Well-thought-out support schemes that are part of a coherent plan and are easy to access provide small businesses with the certainty and support they need.

Obviously, ACCA is very supportive of the new projects and we’re excited to be involved; the most important thing though, is making sure that small businesses receive the best possible advice and are made aware of the options available to support their venture.