Budget 2013: How SMEs might benefit



The 2013 Budget speech, made in late March, has several promising moves for SMEs that could see them receive more money for investment, and improved cash flow even without the need for borrowing.


Perhaps the most headline-grabbing of these is the Business Bank, a £1 billion capital deployment scheme aimed at helping SMEs to access finance through existing means.


Some £50 million of this will go into the Business Angel Co-investment Fund, helping SMEs to access the expertise of business angels – the original equivalent of what might now be more commonly referred to as ‘dragons’.


A £25 million Catalyst Fund will be added to the existing Enterprise Capital Fund, again aimed at investing in SMEs.


Enterprise Finance Guarantee loan portfolios will be subject to a lenders’ guarantee cap of 20% for 2013-14, an extension of the pre-existing level.


And £300 million will be put into a general scheme, to be launched in spring 2013, to diversify the potential sources of income for SMEs across the UK.


Businesses that are keen to thrive on their own earnings, rather than borrowing from the banks, also have cause to celebrate – particularly if you accept card payments.


A commitment to processing card payments faster slipped under the radar in many Budget reports, but page 93 of the Red Book states that such a commitment has been made to the government by card processing services.


This will see the Faster Payments System used for business-related credit and debit card transactions, which should allow funds to clear up to three days faster than they otherwise would do.

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