Calls To “Radically Reform” Support For Businesses Following Brexit

The FSB have warned of a potential economic recession if billions of pounds’ worth of European Union business support funding isn’t replaced post-Brexit

Calls To “Radically Reform” Support For Businesses Following Brexit

Calls have been made to “radically reform” the small business support network in the UK, as firms begin to get ready for life outside the European Union.

The Reformed Business Funding: What small firms want from Brexit, from the Federation of Small Businesses, claims that when the UK formally leaves the EU, a dedicated £3.6bn fund to develop the competitiveness of UK small businesses will be lost.

Expected to end in 2021, there is currently no regional or national equivalent to take its place, nor any discussions of a replacement in the pipeline.

78% of small enterprises have sought business support services over the last 12 months, with those in Yorkshire (25%), the North East (22%) and North West (18%) the most likely to submit applications for EU-funded schemes.

As a result of its findings, the FSB has called on the government to create a streamlined ‘Growth Fund for England’ before the Brexit process is completed, bringing together a domestic replacement for EU funding and the Single Local Growth Fund.

Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, said:

“Small businesses across the country are staring into a business support black hole from 2021. This is a particularly pressing issue for the many small firms with growth ambitions and those in less economically developed regions.

“Brexit marks an unprecedented opportunity for fundamental reform. LEPs and Growth Hubs must be empowered to tailor and simplify support according to local requirements. Ensuring that all small firms are aware of business support schemes should be a top priority.

“We can’t have an environment where small businesses perceive personal contacts or administrative skills as more important to successful applications than genuine need.”

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