Page last updated at 08:38 GMT, Tuesday, 25 November 2008

PBR 'will help' UK's small firms

Copy of the pre-Budget report
Business has broadly welcomed the measures aimed at small firms

Business groups have broadly welcomed the announcements in the pre-Budget report that are designed to help small firms cope with the economic downturn.

The changes will "certainly help" in the current climate, said Tony Cohen, head of the entrepreneurial business team at accountancy firm Deliotte.

New measures to help small firms include the ability to spread tax bills, and increased access to loans.

The Federation of Small Businesses said firms would get a "welcome breather".

Other measures announced by the chancellor that will benefit small firms include a temporary increase in the threshold for empty property relief, and a deferral in the planned increase in corporation tax.

'Vital cash boost'

"We welcome the fact that the chancellor has announced a number of relatively small measures which together will certainly help entrepreneurs and SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] in the current economic environment," said Mr Cohen.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said it welcomed the new 1bn loans fund for small firms.

It also praised plans to allow small firms to offset their losses up to 50,000 over the past three years.

"This pre-Budget report is a sign of the importance of small businesses to the UK economy," said John Walker, FSB national policy chairman.

"The Government's Small Business Finance Scheme, which closely resembles the Small Business Survival Fund the FSB has been calling for, will provide a vital cash boost to businesses struggling with rising costs and a lack of credit.

"Many of these measures, such as giving businesses longer time to pay bills and offsetting losses, will give small businesses a welcome breather from the taxman and allow them to concentrate on sustaining their business, supporting their staff and growing the economy in the long term."

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