SMALL BUSINESS AND START-UP NEWS

SMES BURDENED WITH VAT ADMIN TASKS
Small and medium sized businesses (SME) spend up to one day a week on financial admin tasks such as VAT returns, monthly accounts and tax issues according to findings from Regus research. This has been exacerbated by the introduction of further employment laws and the three VAT changes that have been introduced in the last two years. The research also showed that a third (34 per cent) of companies with less than ten employees spend three days a month on time-consuming VAT tasks. More than a quarter (27 per cent) are bogged down with the complexities of paying staff for a further day each month. And two thirds of small businesses (67 per cent) believe a day a month is lost due to bookkeeping chores.

ENTREPRENEURS ARE GETTING YOUNGER
The number of 18-25 year-olds who own their own business has risen by 4 per cent in the past three years, says a survey conducted by Simply Business. This number is now equal to those in the 35-44 age bracket. This is partly due to the fact that the number of business owners over the age of 35 has shown a slow but steady downturn since 2007, declining by 3 per cent in the 35-44 bracket and 3.6 per cent among 45-54 year olds. However, certain areas have seen greater growth than others: London has witnessed the largest rise in young business owners, climbing by 14 per cent in the last three years. This is closely followed by an 11 per cent rise in the North East and Scotland.

SME AND ANGEL INVESTING WORKSHOP
The British Business Angels Association is holding a winter workshop on 26 January to review the implications of the measures introduced to support start-up and high growth businesses, focusing in particular on early-stage angel investing. Mark Prisk, the minister for enterprise and business, will discuss the government’s proposals, Ken Cooper from Capital for Enterprise Ltd will present the proposals for the new Angel Co-Investment Fund, whilst Stephen Pegge of Lloyds Banking Group and the British Bankers Association will present the role that the banks intend to play in supporting SME growth. The event will held at the Travers Smith offices, 10 Snow Hill, EC1 from 9.30am

INCREASE IN VAT THRESHOLD CREATES JOBS
An increase in VAT thresholds could create up to 35,000 jobs in small firms, finds a report commissioned by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. The report found that increasing the VAT threshold to £90,000 from the current level of £70,000, could save up to £162m per year from the reduction in red tape surrounding VAT compliance. It could also save just over £700m in VAT payments. The report argues that this money could then be used to create 35,000 jobs on an average wage. While this will reduce the amount of money the Treasury receives from VAT receipts, it will be more than offset by the potential £13bn that will come from the increase in VAT to 20 per cent.