Chancellor to pledge £1bn extra support for SMEs


The Chancellor is expected to announce nearly £1bn in extra support for SMEs in today's Autumn Statement. George Osborne is expected to unveil an additional £400m for the British Business Bank, as well as further funding for the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme, to allow up to £500m of new lending in the 2015-16 fiscal year. The extra funding for the Business Bank will be funnelled through its venture capital arm and is designed to help the bank meet its aim of unlocking £10bn of SME finance by 2018. The Chancellor last night confirmed that the Funding for Lending Scheme would be extended for one year, and will be refocused on boosting SME lending. Under the FLS extension, banks will earn further allowances if they lend to small businesses in 2015. In a further boost for SMEs, the Chancellor is also expected to use the Autumn Statement to announce a review of business rates, which will be completed by 2016. Business groups are also hoping for measures to shake-up the business rates regime for SMEs. Sources suggested the Government is considering a move from business rates to a sales tax and that the smallest companies could be exempted altogether.


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