The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills provides support to businesses across a wide variety of policy areas, and progress continues to be made across each of these.
Through industrial strategy, the whole of government is taking a long-term strategic approach to working in partnership with businesses to increase global competitiveness, support innovation and maximise export potential.
99.9% of UK businesses are small and medium sized businesses so we are taking specific steps to help them, and they are reaping the benefits.
The right tax environment is vital to help businesses flourish so we have cut the main rate of Corporation Tax from 28% to 21% and announced further cuts to 20% by 2015 – the joint lowest rate in the G20 major economies. We have also helped businesses with the cost of hiring staff by introducing a new Employer Allowance which cuts £2,000 from the National Insurance bills of small firms.
More businesses are getting access to the finance they need to start up and grow with Start-Up Loans offered to over 25,000 businesses; so far lending over £129 million. The British Business Bank has facilitated £890m of new lending and investment to over 21,000 small businesses in the year to the end of September 2014. And we have facilitated over £1.67 billion of lending to over 16,000 small businesses since May 2010, through our Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme.
We have brought together all Government advice and support in one place at GREATbusiness.gov.uk, where the ‘My Business Support Tool’ helps businesses find the support they need quickly, and businesses can speak to or webchat with a helpline adviser direct using the Business Support helpline. Businesses can also access our new Business Growth Service on the website, which brings together expert advice to improve and grow in one place, including GrowthAccelerator, the Manufacturing Advisory Service, and export advice and finance.
Small businesses have less regulation to follow with a £10 billion cumulative net saving to businesses as a result of our deregulation work. Through the Red Tape Challenge, we have reviewed over 5,600 regulations and identified 3,000 to scrap or improve. We are on track to surpass our target of saving business £850 million per year.
Furthermore, around 48,000 businesses have been helped by our UK Trade and Investment support – of which 90% were small businesses. This support helped generate additional sales of over £49 billion and created or safeguarded over 220,000 jobs over the last year.