Help for small firms in Autumn Statement

No change on VAT but the Government unveils a £40 billion fund to help small businesses get loans.
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The biggest new policy in yesterday's Autumn Statement came in the form of a £40 billion fund designed to make it easier for banks to loan money to small firms. Businesses with an annual turnover less than £50 million will qualify.

The retail sector will also benefit from an extension to the small business rate relief scheme, which was extended until the end of March 2013.

The relief is available to businesses with a rateable value of up to £12,000, and those with a value of £6,000 will be entitled to the full relief. 

A reduction of the 20 per cent VAT rate failed to materialise, despite calls from retail.

Despite new measures, Stephen Robertson from the British Retail Consortium called for more action. He said: "Despite the option to postpone part of next year’s rise, businesses are still faced with the prospect of big increases in rates costs. The option to postpone 60 per cent of April’s increase will be a modest help but the bills will still have to be paid in the end. Offering a delay stops well short of implementing a significantly lower increase.

"The Government’s continued pledges on reducing business burdens are welcome but we need action that makes a meaningful difference to businesses, not just promises and consultations."

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