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SMEs to benefit from better relief rates and new lending bank

Chancellor George Osborne announced improved measures for SMEs in today’s autumn statement, including £1bn for a new business bank.

The government will also extend the small business relief rate scheme to April 2014, said the chancellor.

“The temporary doubling of the small business rate relief scheme helps over half a million small firms, with 350,000 paying no rates at all,” he said. “Today I extend it by a further year, to April 2014.”

He also announced a new business bank intended to help lending to SMEs and UK business. “We’re creating a new Business Bank and providing it with £1 billion of extra capital which will lever in private lending to help small and medium sized firms and bring together existing schemes.”

In the speech the chancellor announced that the government would be cutting business taxes further, saying “we have cut the small companies rate to 20 per cent. But I’d like to help small and medium sized firms more.”

He went on to outline plans to increase by tenfold the annual investment allowances in plant and machinery, from £25,000 to £250,000.

The chancellor also said the government would try to encourage equity markets to invest in SMEs. “We will consult on allowing investment in SME equity markets like AIM to be held directly in stocks and shares ISAs, to encourage investment in growing businesses,” he said.

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