3/24/2010 3:17:00 PM
Chancellor delivers boost to SMEs with extra funding and tax breaks
Chancellor Alistair Darling delivered the last budget today (24 March) ahead of a general election.
In his statement to the Commons, Darling reiterated broadband commitments and help for SMEs to secure funding as he claimed that ‘the UK economy is emerging from the deepest global recession for over 60 years’.
He said: ‘This will be a Budget to secure recovery, tackle borrowing and invest in our industrial future.’
As part of the commitment, Darling laid out plans to ease the pressure on SMEs and underlined their importance to the economy.
The Budget comes at a time when the mobile industry continues to look to new market segments, SMEs have become increasingly important.
Operator’s such as O2 and Vodafone have launched products specifically targeting the SME market including Vodafone OneNet and O2 ‘Joined Up’.
The Chancellor said: ‘In the past 12 months, RBS and Lloyds, which make up half the market, have lent £38bn to small and medium sized businesses.
‘As recovery gets underway, we need to ensure viable SMEs continue to get the credit they need.’
In order to allow SMEs access to credit, Darling announced the creation of a UK New Fund for Growth, which will provide £500m for SMEs.
As well as the additional funding available to SME businesses the Chancellor announced that business rates will be cut for one year from October.
He said: ‘This change means a tax reduction for over half a million small businesses in England, 345,000 of which will pay no business rates at all.
‘That includes over 60,000 offices, 90,000 industrial premises and almost 100,000 shops.’
Darling reiterated that broadband access was a priority for the Government and said: ‘The UK has the potential to be a digital world leader. It needs high-speed broadband for rural areas as well as urban, it must not be limited to the well-off.’