With 500,000 small businesses created last year, there are now about 4,900,000 in the UK. They make up 99% of the private sector and provide around 47% of jobs. Clearly you and the rest of the small business sector are really important to the UK economy, and the government recognises that it should be doing more to support and help you.
Government Intentions to Make Things Easier
In a new publication launched in December 2013, it has come clean about its aims to help small businesses to reach for the stars and achieve their ambitions. Small Business: GREAT Ambition sets out a raft of policies designed to make it easier for small businesses to grow. In the Foreword, Matthew Hancock, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise, states that among the aspects to be made easier are financing business growth, hiring people, developing new ideas, and breaking into new markets. Along the way the government will make it easier to get the right support at the right time. It will also be cutting more red tape to make it easier to get on with doing business.
Outsourced bookkeeping personnel applaud announcements like a campaign to boost awareness of the success rate of the lending appeals procedure. Statistics quoted claim that 40% of appeals by entrepreneurs result in loan rejections being overturned. The idea of a new seven-day current-account switching service, intended to make it easier for small businesses to change banks, is also welcome. And of course, the British Business Bank was set up to specifically to help entrepreneurs to access bank funding. Several other finance related initiatives are mentioned, but there is not much that is really new.
During 2014, government intends to introduce a fully online HMRC payroll system, which should reduce the workload on your bookkeepers or payroll staff. In the spring they will also be launching a new tool for managing staff and getting the best out of them. The £2000 national insurance bill relief also comes into force in April 2014. Among other measures on personnel issues, they announce that they will be providing new support for small businesses trying to recruit from overseas.
Recognising the difficulties small businesses face in trying to gain footholds in new markets, they will be opening up more, and easier, access to public sector contracts. More advice and support on exporting will also be made available.
This taste of what is included indicates that some help for small businesses is on the way. As always everyone will be waiting to see what eventually transpires, but it’s looking good on paper.