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New tax cut points to wider SME finance challenge

So, SMEs have been promised action on the bureaucracy that engulfs them and the late payments that handicap them. Good news, but the larger issue of SME finance still looms large.

The prime minister has pledged more support for small businesses in the form of an employment allowance, which equates to a £2,000 tax cut, and the addressing of the long-standing problem of late payment, in particular by big companies. The SME sector may well take a “believe it when we see it” approach, but they are positive developments.

However, the major issue of access to SME finance remains, as yet, far from adequately addressed. The mortgage market may be coming out of hibernation in vibrant fashion, nurtured by the Funding for Lending and Help to Buy schemes, but small business lending, from traditional lenders at least, resembles a much more dormant beast.

If the government’s various initiatives finally revitalise small business finance in the manner they have done with mortgage lending, the focus on late payment and national insurance contributions will no doubt help fuel sector growth. But without the former, the latter efforts will have less impact. However, that’s not to say that small businesses can’t address this issue already.

While traditional lenders have taken up a position on the sidelines, alternative finance, led by invoice finance, has entered the mainstream, and has provided a lifeline to small businesses. Invoice finance is also helping users tackle the problem of late payment – invoices can be settled much more promptly. When it comes to agreeing on the format of the British Business Bank, the government should take note.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact us on 01903 602211 or info@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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