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Government Launches Business Fund

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To help improve business access to the sort of finance needed to get new products and services off the ground, the Government has launched its new Business Growth Fund (BGF).

The fund has been set up to help SMEs with an annual turnover of between £10 million and £100 million. It has available funds of up to £2.5 billion, and is backed by a number of leading banks. The BGF will invest approximately between £2 million and £10 million per business in return for a minimum 10 per cent equity stake and a seat on the board for a BGF director. It is designed to offer long-term equity investment for growing enterprises which are struggling to secure access to sources of capital.

Business Secretary, Vince Cable said: “The Business Growth Fund is ready to make substantial equity investments into ambitious mid-cap British companies who are set to create the business success stories of the coming years.”

More details on the BGF can be found at

Has your business come up with a great new idea but is struggling to raise the funds to finance it? We just might be able to guide you towards sourcing the right kind of backing.

Review of the way small business tax works
The Treasury has asked the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) to look at how the system of tax administration for smaller businesses works. Previous OTS reports suggested that tax administration is a source of uncertainty and complexity for many smaller firms.

The new review will examine ways of reducing the administrative burdens of the current system and of simplifying the ways in which HMRC and small businesses interact with each other. This will involve examining small businesses’ experience of tax administration and their contact with HMRC at key stages of the annual tax cycle. The review will also investigate the tax administration processes involved in starting and growing a new business.

John Whiting, tax director for the OTS, said: “It’s clear that many small businesses are struggling under the administrative burdens imposed by the UK tax system. We plan to set up surveys to really home in on what steps cause the most difficulties – and how the system can be improved, making it easier for businesses to get things right with the minimum of fuss.”

There are a number of reforms affecting the tax system at the moment. Don’t forget that we can make sure that you both comply with the rules and pay no more tax than you should be paying.

Get ready for new agency worker regulations
The Government has issued guidelines on how employers should approach the new rules governing the rights of temporary workers. The regulations, which implement the EU Agency Workers’ Directive of 2008, come into effect on 1 October 2011.

The rights were agreed between the last government, the CBI and the TUC but had been the subject of further scrutiny by the present administration because employers had expressed worries over the complexity of the regulations. However, the Government has decided that introducing any reforms would be too difficult.

The new rules will give agency workers the right to the same basic employment and working conditions as if they had been recruited directly by a company, if and when they complete a 12-week qualifying period in a job.

The guidance can be viewed at here: Agency Workers Regulations

Big changes on parental leave
New Government plans will see an overhaul of the regulations governing parental leave following the birth of a baby.

At the moment, mothers are allowed six weeks of maternity leave at 90 per cent of their earnings. They can then take another 33 weeks off work at the statutory maternity leave pay of £128.73 a week. If they so choose, they can add another three months of unpaid leave. Fathers, on the other hand, can take two weeks of paid leave. Since April, men have been allowed to assume home care responsibilities for six months of any unused maternity leave should the mother opt to return to work after the baby is 20 weeks old. But that leave can only be taken as a single block.

The new plans mean that the mother will be entitled to 18 weeks of paid maternity leave following the birth of the baby. However, a subsequent 30 weeks’ leave, of which 17 weeks would be paid, can then be divided between the two parents and, if it is requested, the leave could be segmented into blocks of weeks and months. What’s more, both parents will be granted an extra four weeks of paid parental leave, taking the father’s automatic entitlement to six weeks in total.
Business groups, though, expressed anxieties over the impact of the changes, particularly in the case of smaller employers.

John Walker, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “For a small firm, organising cover and workloads for a member of staff that has decided to take chunks of parental leave from work – not a continuous period
of time – will be extremely burdensome and difficult to administer.”

The consultation can be found here: Parental Leave Consultation