More to be done for small firms, says business group

The Chancellor needs to step up proposals to help small businesses if they are to see a genuine change in growth, says the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Speaking at their Annual Dinner, FSB chairman John Walker urged Chancellor George Osborne, who was a guest speaker at the event, to press ahead with promises made in the Autumn Statement to create a better environment for small businesses struggling in the recession.

The Government, in its Autumn Statement, pledged to support the recovering economy and detailed new initiatives that businesses can expect to benefit from if they are included in the March Budget.

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) is one such initiative, designed to encourage investment in small and medium sizes enterprises (SMEs) by offering 50 per cent tax relief. Another, the National Loan Guarantee Scheme, will pump £20 billion into banks to directly lend to SMEs.

John Walker said: "The Autumn Statement was a step in the right direction for small firms and we welcomed the seed investment scheme - to encourage investment in small businesses from sources other than the banks. This is critical at the moment given the problems that members are still facing getting credit from high street banks.

"But firms have yet to benefit from credit easing, still find themselves locked out of public procurement contracts and risk being unable to access the Green Deal when it is introduced in the autumn. We urge the Chancellor to keep up the pressure and be more ambitious in helping our members to grow, create jobs and flourish."

The FSB now wants to see the Chancellor's words put into action to tackle business growth and investment, and to provide new job opportunities to get the UK's economy back on track.