Government ministers have met to set out plans for a new Business Finance Council to be established to support SMEs through Brexit. Business, Treasury and Cabinet Office ministers met banking chiefs to encourage support for small businesses post-Brexit through an increased availability of finance. The aim of this initiative is to give SMEs the best chance possible to succeed and seize opportunities that present themselves after the UK leaves the EU on October 31st. The success of growing small businesses will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the economy as a whole given that the SME sector makes up over 50% of jobs in Britain. Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:
"Lenders must empower their SME customers to seize the huge variety of opportunities that lie ahead as we leave the EU on 31 October. Our new Business Finance Council will bring together key players, ensuring that finance continues to flow to our brilliant British businesses so they can do just that."
This support to British SMEs also was included in the review of the Spending Round, which was also announced by the Chancellor Sajid Javid. This will consist of an additional £2 billion set aside for no-deal preparedness,however is still unclear how it will reach those who need it most, not least the small firms that make-up 99 per cent of the UK economy. An extra £60 million for the GREAT initiative is helpful, but SMEs need to see the introduction of £3,000 Brexit vouchers alongside targeted support for exporters directly impacted by persistent uncertainty. This new spending round also contemplates long standing issues that most SMEs face like crime-rising crime is a massive concern for the UK small business community, collectively costing small businesses billions of pounds a year-, the commitment to full fibre access for all by 2025, the stop-start approach to infrastructure and funding for further education institutions. Talking about the issue, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry, commented that it’s important to stress that what small firms really want is a return to an environment where they can plan for the long-term, and policymakers consistently tackle domestic challenges head on. With the latest UK economic data painting a bleak picture, small businesses urgently need tangible support on the ground. Likewise, CEO of IW Capital Luke Davis added:
"SMEs are vital to the UK economy both for the jobs they create and the innovation they encourage. Ensuring that this sector is in the best possible position to make the most of future growth opportunities will make a huge difference in years to come."
"If this announcement is combined with extensions to the schemes that fund the SMEs left behind by banks, such as EIS, we could see a boom of growth. Investors want to support British businesses and firms want to grow, what we need to do is make this sentiment a reality",he concluded.