HSBC throws business a Billion Pound lifeline

HSBC has announced a new £1bn loan fund for its small business customers as recession leaves firms struggling to meet day-to-day running costs.

Many of its rivals are constraining lending while they nurse their balance sheets back to health, and HSBC hopes to seize the opportunity to find profitable business in the midst of the downturn.

Apprenticeship expansion launched

The Government has reaffirmed its commitment to developing the nation’s skills with the launch of an innovative new trial to develop Apprenticeship Expansion Programmes aimed at increasing current apprenticeship numbers to fill existing skills gaps. The trials, delivered through the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) will provide participating employers with access to funds of more than £10 million over the next three years, in a bid to increase the number of available Apprenticeship vacancies.

Chancellor’s help firmly rejected by small business owners

Small business owners are wary of the Chancellor’s efforts to help them, believing the longer-term costs of Alistair Darling’s Pre Budget Report outweigh the supposed benefits. A resounding majority reject the government’s assistance because of fears that the Chancellor’s generosity will come back to bite them.

An online research programme by Trends Research for us at Business Matters magazine immediately after the Pre Budget Report gathered the opinions of 816 leaders of small and medium sized businesses to a package of measures designed to help them survive the recession.

Mandelson alarmed at banks treatment of small business

Lord Mandelson says he is concerned about the "alarming" treatment of small businesses by some bank managers.

The business secretary welcomed Royal Bank of Scotland’s announcement that it would freeze overdraft charges for small firms until the end of next year.

But he said there was concern some banks were summarily changing the terms of loans to small firms.

Company liquidations jumped by 25%

Company liquidations jumped by a quarter in the last three months according to official figures today.

The Insolvency Service said there were 4,001 voluntary and compulsory liquidations in England and Wales in the third quarter of 2008. The figures represented a 10.5% rise on the previous quarter and an increase of 26.3% on the same period a year ago.

Tories urge small business help

He said local authorities could also help by paying small businesses for their services earlier.

Meanwhile, the chancellor, Alistair Darling, has said the government will help the economy by "re-prioritising" its spending to create jobs.

The Treasury’s Yvette Cooper has also urged lenders to be more lenient on people who default on mortgages.

Small business divided on Britain as a ‘great’ place for doing business

There is a clear divide on whether Britain is a great place to run a small or medium sized business according to the latest poll from the Orange SMS Business Jury. Over a third of SME and small businesses (36%) surveyed disagreed that Britain was a great place to run a small or medium sized business, while just under a third (32%) said that Britain was a great place to do business, despite the current downturn.

Business owners fighting to ‘make it’ big

Research carried out within the small to medium sized enterprise market and found that the most common factor that makes small business owners consider their business to have “made it” is when they have made over £250k-£500k profit cleared and in their business bank account.
The research from found that the Top 5 business milestones that small business owners considered that they had to reach before considering their business to have made it were as follows;

Red tape & bureaucracy awards put Darling at Number One

Nearly 40% of small business owners blame the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the increasing burden of red tape in the UK. A recent poll commissioned by online accounting software firm KashFlow has revealed the constraints and worries that increasing amounts of red tape has had on small businesses around the UK.
In the first ever Red Tape and Bureaucracy Awards the Chancellor of the Exchequer is today revealed to be the person that the majority of small business owners and accountants blame for increasing red tape in the UK.