What support is available to small businesses in the UK?
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What support is available to small businesses in the UK?

*Disclaimer: All the information in this blog is correct at the time of writing (November 2022). For the latest advice visit the government website.  

The current economic downturn has hit many small businesses hard and will likely continue to do so well into 2023. It’s important to be proactive when it comes to your business’ finances, and you should take advantage of any small business support that you’re eligible for. We’ve compiled useful advice and links that may help you to get the support you need.  

Business advice

We know that it’s not always possible to invest in a consultant who can offer expert advice. There is free government support available via a helpline.  

Business Support Helpline (England) 

  • enquiries@businesssupporthelpline.org 
  • Telephone: 0800 998 1098 
  • Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm (except bank holidays) 

Find Business Support Scotland 

  • Telephone: 0300 303 0660 
  • Textphone: 0800 023 2071 
  • Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5:30pm (except bank holidays) 

Business Wales Helpline 

  • Telephone: 0300 060 3000
  • Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5:30pm (except bank holidays) 

Invest Northern Ireland 

  • Telephone: 0800 181 4422 
  • Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm (except bank holidays) 

There are also Growth Hubs situated around England who are helping local businesses to face the current cost-of-living crisis. Their aim is to drive economic growth and job creation in their specific area of the country by hosting events and providing support.  

Financial support

The government has a wide range of support programmes and loans available for small businesses to take advantage of. The list is always being updated with new schemes, so we’d recommend heading to the portal for the latest information. You can sort by type of support, industry, region and number of employees to find the right support for your small business.  

We’d also recommend checking out smallbusiness.co.uk’s rundown of grants that are currently available in the UK

They include the UK Trade Show Programme which offers support to UK businesses who wish to export overseas. The grant can be used by small businesses to exhibit or attend overseas trade conferences.  

There is also a grant available that provides a discount for businesses who are willing to switch to low-emission vehicles.  

Start Up Loans

You can apply for a government backed Start Up Loan that's between £500 and £25,000 to start or grow your business. Unlike a business loan, this is an unsecured personal loan, so you’ll need to pass a credit check. 

Successful applicants receive free support and guidance to help write their business plan, and up to 12 months of free mentoring. To apply, you must be 18 or over, live in the UK and have (or plan to start) a UK-based business that’s been fully trading for less than 36 months.  

If you are planning on starting a business for the first time, or your small is business is in its infancy, then check out the government’s useful guides. They have information on the first things to do when setting up a business, how to write a business plan and what you should know when you employ staff for the first time.  

2022 Autumn Budget

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered the Autumn Statement amidst difficult economic times. Here are some of the key bits that might impact your small business explained. 

Hunt stated that the UK is already in recession so whatever your business, you might find times harder in the coming months. Although the government will focus on economic growth, it might be some time before customers and businesses begin to spend freely.  

  • The VAT threshold has been frozen at £85,000 until 2026. This is the turnover at which businesses need to register to pay the tax. Even if you earn more as a result of rising prices, you’ll need to register to pay VAT.  
  • The national living wage will increase. If you have employees on the national living wage, then their hourly rate will increase to £10.42.  
  • The additional income tax threshold will reduce from £150,000 to £125,140. This means that more self-employed people could potentially become additional rate taxpayers, paying 45% on earnings above £125,140.
  • The personal allowance freeze has been extended until 2028. When he was chancellor, Rishi Sunak froze the income tax personal allowance at £12,570. This was called a ‘stealth tax’ because when people earn more over the years, their personal allowance won’t also increase, and they’ll move into higher tax brackets. This means they keep less of their money.

The best thing you can do when it comes to small business finances is be informed. By checking the government website and other useful links in this blog, you can stay up to date with what’s happening and ensure your business has the best chance of success in today’s difficult economic picture.