In what the Chancellor referred to as “a budget that backs small businesses”, there was positive news for UK SMEs, including the start of the Bank Referral Scheme, extension of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee programme and an increase in business rate relief.
Bank Referral Scheme
We understand that many SMEs have struggled to access lending from high street banks over recent years, so it is great news that the Bank Referral Scheme will be launched in April, with three finance platforms matching SMEs turned down for bank loans with other lenders that can provide the finance they need. LDF are pleased to be engaging with providers on this approved panel in order to assist SMEs in sourcing finance for growth.
SMEs may not be aware that unlike banks, finance providers will often provide specialised products to help businesses expand and develop. LDF’s Business Development Loan, for example, is designed to help businesses spread the cost of expenses, such as marketing, recruitment and research & development – areas that are often difficult to finance individually, but can be combined within a handy facility, drawn down upon as required.
Corporation Tax will fall to 17% by 2020
A welcomed reduction for many small businesses who often consider Corporation Tax as a cash flow burden - the drop in rate will encourage businesses to support other areas of their businesses.
Enterprise Finance Guarantee Extension
The Enterprise Finance Guarantee programme will extend to 2018. The scheme aims to provide additional opportunities for businesses, promoting an increased focus on the importance of lending to more SMEs. This is critical for growing businesses in the UK, so it’s great to see the programme extended for another two years.
Business rate relief for small business
The Chancellor made a commitment to doubling the small business rate relief from £6,000 to £12,000 in a move that will be welcomed by small business owners. The Chancellor announced that the thresholds for the relief would also be increased; it has estimated that 600,000 businesses will not pay any business rates, saving businesses up to £6,000 per year.
Despite recent concerns, it was also announced that fuel duty would remain frozen for its six consecutive year.
Other key announcements for businesses
- Extension of Entrepreneurs’ Relief
- New stamp duty rates for commercial property
- Northern Powerhouse transport and economy growth