Government announces new reform packages for SMEs

From: techUK
Published: Tue Mar 19 2024

The Prime Minister announced a set of reforms aimed at bolstering businesses. These initiatives, unveiled at the Business Connect conference in Warwickshire, encompass several key areas: apprenticeship support, reducing regulatory burdens for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and fostering private investment in female-founded businesses.

One significant reform is the full funding of apprenticeships in small businesses. Starting from April, the government will cover the entire cost of training for individuals up to the age of 21, thereby alleviating financial burdens on businesses and providing more opportunities for young people to enter the workforce.

Additionally, the government plans to inject an extra 60 million of funding for the upcoming year to ensure that there is adequate financial support for apprenticeships where there is demand from businesses. Large employers, who contribute to the apprenticeship levy, will now be able to transfer up to 50% of their unused funds to support other businesses, particularly smaller firms, in hiring apprentices. This move aims to facilitate the creation of up to 20,000 additional apprenticeships, primarily benefiting young individuals.

The government has also announced plans to ease regulatory constraints for SMEs. This includes a range of measures aimed at simplifying both non-financial and financial reporting requirements, potentially saving small businesses around 150 million annually and reducing administrative burdens.

Moreover, the Prime Minister plans to establish an industry-led Invest in Women Taskforce, aimed at boosting private investment in female-led businesses. This initiative seeks to address the longstanding issue of limited funding for women entrepreneurs, with the ultimate goal of making the UK the premier destination for female founders.

These announcements followed recent tax cuts and financial support measures, including increasing the VAT registration threshold, reducing Class 4 NICs for the self-employed, and extending business rates relief for sectors like retail, hospitality, and leisure. The government also recently announced the establishment of the Small Business Council and the relaunch of the Help to Grow campaign website to provide more resources and assistance to SMEs.

Overall, these recent initiatives reflect the government's aims to empower businesses, particularly SMEs and female-founded enterprises, to realize their full potential and contribute to a resilient and prosperous economy.

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