In recent years, making your first foray into the world of business would have been a risky move, but in the UK, we’re slowly moving away from the aftermath of the financial crisis and re-emerging as a strong and powerful economic nation. This is good news for small business owners as well as those looking to start their own business. In its autumn statement, the government announced numerous measures to help grow small businesses during 2015 – let’s take a closer look.

The Autumn Statement

On 3 December 2014, Chancellor George Osborne revealed the government’s plan to help support small business owners of Britain – with a reported £900 million available for lending.

How is the economy looking?

The economy is stronger than it has been for a long time, with the UK actually taking top spot for the fastest growth out of all the countries in the G7. It is estimated that it will grow by 2.4 per cent during 2015, with similarly high percentage rates forecasted for the coming years. With around 500,000 new jobs created during 2014, the rate of unemployment has fallen. Coupled with a new lower rate of inflation means things are looking rosy for business owners.

What are the new measures?

  • £900 million in lending. The government is giving £900 million to the British Bank to lend to small businesses. The bank itself has proposed to lend a further £10 billion to small businesses by 2018.
  • Extension of the Business Rates Relief Scheme. The current scheme was due to expire in March 2015 which would have meant around 300,000 businesses would have had to cough up money they couldn’t afford, leading to business closures. The announcement that the scheme would be extended for another year has come as a relief to many.
  • No job tax on apprenticeships. Employers who have apprentices working for them under the age of 25 will no longer have to pay National Insurance for them. Before the Autumn Statement was released, companies were paying National Insurance for all apprentices over the age of 21. 

 

What do they mean for small business owners?

The measures announced in the Autumn Statement signify a positive start to 2015 for small business owners, with the government aiming to do all it can to help small businesses thrive and more importantly survive. Many had considered the old system outdated so it’s definitely a marked improvement to see the government appearing to listen to the needs of small business owners.

Are there any pitfalls?As with anything, there are certain things small business owners should be wary of. The injection of cash provided to the British Business Bank, while welcomed by small business owners, has made them react with caution. British banks are still suffering on the whole from the aftermath of the financial crisis and small business owners will be looking for some kind of guarantee that the bank will be able to support them during tough times. 

Business tips for 2015

We’ll leave you with some business tips for 2015:

  • “Never spend more than you are making” – Rob Baines, co-founder of Snog.
  • “Collaboration is key for achieving success” – Paul Lindley, founder of Ella’s Kitchen.
  • “Don’t over-complicate, and instead think about what your customers genuinely need” – Nick Hungerford, founder of investment company Nutmeg.
     

What do you think 2015 holds for small businesses? Let us know on our Facebook and Twitter pages.