What will replace EU SME help post-Brexit?

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The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has released a new report billed as Reformed Business Funding: What small firms want from Brexit.

The report says that 80% of small firms surveyed (1659 FSB members across the UK in December 2016 with follow up interviews and focus groups) have sought help and advice in the past year. And that draws into contrast an uncomfortable truth that £3.6bn of the dedicated small business money comes from the EU (between 2014 and 2020) and yet the Government has not yet put into place, or planned for, replacement cash.

FSB Chair Mike Cherry says: “Small businesses across the country are staring into a business support black hole from 2021. This is a particularly pressing issue for the many small firms with growth ambitions and those in less economically developed regions. Brexit marks an unprecedented opportunity for fundamental reform. LEPs (local enterprise partnerships) and Growth Hubs must be empowered to tailor and simplify support according to local requirements. Ensuring that all small firms are aware of business support schemes should be a top priority. The new government must prioritise the development of a Growth Fund for England pre-Brexit or risk a slowdown in the economy.” (Funds in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are administered in those nations.)

This situation is another Brexit consideration that will impact many SMEs. Plenty of EU money goes to supporting areas that need economic help and that will cease to be the case after the divorce.

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