Small Business Saturday is back this year on the 5th December. Join me in supporting the nation's small businesses to get back to business. To get involved visit https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/
This is the 8th year for the campaign in the UK, and it is not business as usual. The organisers of Small Business Saturday and I are keen to focus on getting businesses back up and running and focusing on this campaign as a key driver of public interest in small businesses, and an optimism in the economy building towards the end of the year.
I couldn't agree more with Michelle Ovens' MBE, Director of Small Business Saturday, testament that "there really has never been a more important time to support small businesses that do so much for our communities and economy."
In support of this fantastic initiative I would like to invite small businesses in Brentwood and Ongar to get in touch with me before the 5th December to let me know how you are getting on.
The Tour 2020
Please note, the campaign has had to change its format this year to take account of the restrictions in place, while still supporting and celebrating the small businesses of the UK. A big change is moving the iconic Bus Tour online. For more details of the tour, please see the information below provided by the organisers.
Small businesses across the UK are being offered a major new package of support and mentoring, as Small Business Saturday UK launches the UK’s first online roadshow for towns and cities affected by the pandemic.
Kicking off on 2nd November 2020 with daily 'virtual visits' to small businesses and communities in over thirty locations across the UK, Small Business Saturday UK will offer an ambitious, vibrant and intensive programme of locally targeted online advice, workshops and mentoring.
The campaign will support, encourage and uplift small businesses across the country facing the challenge of a second wave of Covid-19 restrictions, the virtual tour will form a central part of the official countdown to Small Business Saturday on 5th December.
Starting in Scotland with a focus on Inverness, the tour will ‘zoom into’ locations across the country each weekday; reaching everywhere from city centres like Edinburgh, Manchester, London and Cardiff, to rural communities such as Pateley Bridge in the Yorkshire Dales and Bodmin in Cornwall.
The Importance of Small Businesses
Small Business Saturday is our chance to show our support for small businesses across the country
- Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we do not underestimate how challenging 2020 has been.
- That’s why we have provided an unprecedented package of support – from stepping in to pay people’s wages to offering grants and loans that have been vital for companies facing reduced cashflow. And as we kickstart our economy, we will deliver a once-in-a-generation investment in the infrastructure businesses rely on.
- Small businesses will be key in our economic recovery and plans to build back better after coronavirus, as we continue to make Britain the best place in the world to start, run and grow a business.
The Conservative Government have supported small businesses through coronavirus by:
- Extending furlough until the end of March for all parts of the United Kingdom. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended to cover the new restrictions with employees receiving 80 per cent of their current salary for hours not worked, up to £2,500 a month. Businesses have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis or furlough them full-time. For those who have recently been made redundant (since 23 September), they can be rehired and furloughed by their employer.
- Providing more support for self-employed people across the United Kingdom. We are providing even more generous support to the self-employed by increasing the support to the self-employed from 40 per cent of trading profits to 80 per cent for November, December and January. These grants are calculated over three months, meaning the maximum grant will increase to £7,500. This is £7.3 billion of support to the self-employed through November to January alone, with a further grant to follow covering February to April. This comes on top of £13 billion of support provided to between 2.5 million and 3 million self-employed people so far.
- Providing Bounce Back Loans to ensure businesses are able to get access to financial support as quickly as possible. Any smaller business experiencing financial difficulties because of coronavirus can apply for a loan of up to £50,000, which is 100 per cent guaranteed by Government for the first 12 months – during which time no repayments will need to be made. Loans reach bank accounts within days of an application being made.
- Setting up the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to help companies that need access to cash. Any viable business with a turnover of up to £45 million can apply for a loan of up to £5 million.
- Extending the application deadline for loan guarantee schemes. This includes the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme – to the end of January 2021.
- Supporting businesses forced to close. Business premises which are legally forced to close, either under local or national restrictions, can receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month in England.
- Providing additional support for local authorities. £1.1 billion is being provided to Local Authorities to enable them to support businesses which are not forced to close but are facing reduced demand due to the new national and localised restrictions.
- Offering a 12-month business rates holiday for sectors which are struggling with cashflow issues. All eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, as well as nurseries, estate agents and bingo halls, will pay no businesses rates for 12 months, from 1 April 2020.
- Helping smaller companies with the costs of Statutory Sick Pay. We will provide SMEs with a grant to cover up to two weeks’ sick pay per eligible employee who has been off work because of Covid-19.
The Conservative Government will help small businesses to build back better after coronavirus by:
- Investing £100 billion in capital spending next year – delivering the infrastructure that businesses rely on. Our plans deliver the highest sustained levels of public sector net investment since the late 1970s. We have published a National Infrastructure Strategy, and will deliver better mobile connectivity, with 4G coverage across 95 per cent of the UK by 2025, £15 billion for research and investment and the biggest ever investment in new roads, railways, cycle lanes and buses.
- Launching a new Levelling Up Fund, worth £4 billion in England, to improve the infrastructure people and businesses rely on every day. Our new fund will focus on delivering projects like new bypasses, upgraded railway stations, less traffic, more libraries, museums and galleries, and better high streets and town centres. Local areas in England will be able to bid directly to fund local projects of up to £20 million which must be delivered in this Parliament.
- Providing £557.5 million for the British Business Bank, so that they can help small businesses grow. This will help small businesses across the United Kingdom to access to finance and support them to grow and includes £56.5 million to fund an expansion of the Bank’s Start-Up Loans scheme. This will provide an additional 1,000 loans to help catalyse new entrepreneurship in the economic recovery from coronavirus.
- Providing £20 million in new funding to smaller businesses for new equipment and specialist advice to help them get back on track after the pandemic. Grants of between £1,000-£5,000 will be available via Local Enterprise Partnerships to help companies access professional advice, such as external HR, legal or financial support, or to purchase new equipment to help them adapt and recover from the coronavirus.
The Conservative Government are supporting our high streets by:
- Launching a £3.6 billion Towns Fund to ensure prosperity and opportunities are available to everyone, not just those in London or our biggest cities. The funding will support an initial 100 towns by improving both transport and digital infrastructure, driving local growth and raising living standards.
- Backing community leaders with £1 billion of funding to help modernise their high streets and town centres. The Prime Minister has expanded the Future High Streets Fund, confirming that another 50 towns in England will be given a share of £1 billion to redevelop their high streets, improve transport and access into town centres and convert empty retail units into new homes and places of work, taking the total receiving support to 100 places.
- Reforming planning rules to support new homes on high streets to transform them into community hubs where people work, live and shop. Our changes will give greater freedom for buildings and land in our town centres to change use without planning permission and create new homes from the regeneration of vacant and redundant buildings.
- Investing £250 million in innovative cultural projects, libraries, museums and creative industries. The Cultural Investment Fund is the Government’s biggest ever single investment in cultural infrastructure, local museums and neighbourhood libraries and will benefit communities across the country. This will help drive growth, rejuvenate high streets and attract tourists to our world-class cultural attractions.
The Conservatives have long-supported small businesses by:
- Cutting business taxes by reducing the overall burden of business rates and raising the Employment Allowance, helping businesses to grow and create more good jobs. We will conduct a fundamental review of the entire business rates system to reduce to burden faced by firms. We have also increased the Employment Allowance from £3,000 to £4,000, giving a half a billion pound tax cut for small business.
- Awarding 75,000 Start Up Loans to support entrepreneurs and small businesses create jobs and boost economic growth. Start Up Loans provide funding to entrepreneurs who may otherwise struggle to access it. Since the scheme’s creation in 2012, 75,000 loans have been awarded, providing more than £623 million. We have committed to extending the Start-Up Loan programme to the end of 2021-22, supporting up to 10,000 more entrepreneurs across the UK.
- Providing businesses with help and advice they may need to succeed. We will invest £10 million to increase the capacity of our Growth Hubs, which provide high-quality business advice, and £13 million to expand the British Library’s network of Business and Intellectual Property Centres to 21 cities and 18 surrounding local library networks across the UK. We will also develop a digital service to provide businesses with tailored information about sources of support.
- Tackling delays in payments to small business to build an environment in which businesses all over the country can thrive. We are introducing new powers for the Small Business Commissioner to tackle late payments through fines and binding payment plans.