Some good news for small businesses

November 12, 2014

I was very happy to hear that the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills has given independence to the British Business Bank. The Bank has been a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, and its independence represents an important development in providing finance to small and medium-sized businesses.

Before being given its new independence, the Bank was run from within the Department and, in the 12 months to June 2014, helped provide £829m of lending and investment to small UK firms, taking the total number of companies helped by the Bank to over 35,000. It builds on previous government schemes of supporting venture capital and promoting lending diversity. High levels of investment are a powerful way to grow our economy and strengthen our position globally, and with nearly a billion pounds put into businesses last year, the British Business Bank is becoming ever more successful. The fact that the Dutch Parliament has recently voted to create its own institution based on our model is testament to its success.

A new information website for SMEs

November 10, 2014

I am happy to see that small businesses can now access information and advice to help them make the most of communications services, following the launch of a new dedicated online portal from Ofcom. The site – – includes advice specifically tailored for businesses on choosing or switching to a new provider, as well as information on navigating and negotiating contracts, and resolving complaints with a provider. It sets out clearly Ofcom’s role and the rules communications providers must follow when dealing with business customers, offering advice on landline telephone, broadband, mobile and postal services. A summary of the rights of businesses, both large and small, is also available.

Small and medium-sized businesses are a vital part of the economy, and their success is instrumental in securing the jobs that we need to remain prosperous and competitive in the global race. As we communicate in ever-faster, better, and more complicated ways, it is very important for businesses to be able keep pace and receive help in understanding technological developments. SMEs must be able to benefit from competition and innovation in the market wherever possible and receive regulatory protection where necessary, and I am glad that Ofcom is helping this happen with this new website.

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