Small Business outlook

Government ministers have had a couple of months to settle into their new seats and there are two ministers, in particular, relevant to small businesses.  Sajid Javid MP is the Secretary of State for Business and Anna Soubry MP is the minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise.

Small Businesses were a hot topic in the election earlier this year and there were certainly positive pledges made to small businesses in the Conservative’s Small Business Manifesto, which included the following:

  • increasing the number of business start ups to 600,000 per year within the next 5 years;
  • trebling the number of start up loans, giving 75,000 entrepreneurs the chance to kick start their business;
  • conducting a major business rates review;
  • raising the target for SME’s share of central government procurement to 1/3;
  • cutting red tape by £10 billion;
  • freezing national insurance contributions for employers and employees;
  • helping small businesses grow through the Help to Grow Scheme;
  • reviewing the disadvantages faced by the self employed;
  • investing £100 billion in infrastructure;
  • establishing a new Small Business Conciliation Service to mediate disputes, with a pledge to crack down on late payments;
  • providing 3 million new apprenticeships; and
  • providing free childcare for millions of working parents.

Hopefully, if the pledges come to fruition and achieve the intended results, life will be made easier for small business owners in the UK.  The Government has also announced the Enterprise Bill which will put into place some of the above, including the Small Business Conciliation Service. This should particularly aid small businesses, as it is estimated that over £32 billion is owed to small businesses in late payments, but many do not always know their rights in relation to debt recovery.

We also want to make life easier for smaller businesses at Birkett Long LLP.  We can assist in relation to debt recovery and we also have a selection of documents available at fixed fees to help keep costs down. Such documents include terms and conditions, shareholders’ agreements and employment documents.

It is worth bearing in mind that putting the necessary documents in place now can save thousands of pounds in legal fees in the future. Small business owners are invariably working hard to get their businesses off the ground and keep them afloat, and often put documents that do not seem immediately important to the back of their minds. It is only when disputes arise that business owners realise the true value of having certain documents in place, for example terms and conditions that provide the basis upon which contracts are agreed, or a shareholders agreement detailing what is to happen when shares are transferred, when a shareholder wants to leave or when there is a deadlock. Therefore, for a small expense now, you may save your business from significant expense in the future by avoiding costly disputes where no formal agreements are in place.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.