The coalition Government’s small business support schemes have been decidedly hit-and-miss since they came to power in 2010.
Schemes launched with great fanfare such as National Insurance Holidays and Employee Shareholder Contracts have fallen flat as startups and SMEs have either seen no benefit, or judged the bureaucracy too time-consuming the justify the returns. National Insurance Holidays fared particularly poorly, seeing around 2% of the Government’s expected uptake.
One of the support schemes that has proven successful, however, has been Startup Loans. Backed by Government money and offering favourable interest rates, so far the scheme has helped 25,000 businesses get off the ground, lending out almost £130 million.
Today David Cameron will pledge to increase Startup Loans lending to £300 million with an aim to support another 50,000 businesses if the Conservatives are re-elected in May.
The Prime Minister will say:
“The Conservatives are the party of small businesses. We’re the party of the roofers and the retailers; the builders and the businesswomen. We’re the ones who back people who strike out on their own, take the risks, and create wealth and jobs in our country.
“That’s why we began Startup Loans — to help people with a smart idea make their first sale.”
Labour have already laid out some of the small business support policies they would pursue is elected this year, including a US-style Small Business Administration, with a remit to specifically look after the interests of small business at Government level, and equal rights for the self-employed.
Photo by Number 10