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Lifeline for small firms on the way


NEW measures to help small construction firms survive financial crisis in their early years were introduced in the Queen's Speech yesterday (Wednesday).

There was also legislation to allow groups of professionals such as architects and surveyors to form limited liability partnerships. This will give them the sort of protection from financial liability that companies enjoy.

Included in the government's programme for the coming year is an insolvency bill to give small firms 'breathing space' if they get into financial difficulties.

Rather than face immediate pressure from creditors to wind them up, they will get a month or more to sort out a programme of financial arrangements before a meeting of all interested parties.

The bill will also introduce a fasttrack procedure for the voluntary disqualification of unfit directors who agree to a ban rather than go through the courts.