Government set to unveil £520 million ‘help to grow’ scheme for small businesses

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is set to announce plans to help the UK’s economic recovery by unveiling a new ‘help to grow’ scheme for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The £520 million scheme will be aimed at the leaders of 130,000 SMEs in the UK as the Government looks to boost economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The scheme will offer training on management skills and provide business owners with access to discounted digital software and expert technological advice.

It is expected that thousands of small businesses will take advantage of the scheme to level up their business with top quality management training that might ordinarily only be attainable for larger businesses.

The Treasury has stated that recent studies have indicated that improving the performance of UK SMEs to match competitors in the EU such as Germany could provide a £100 billion boost to the economy.

Experts have also pointed to productivity as a key issue to tackle, with the UK facing a 16 per cent deficit in ‘output per hour worked’ when compared with other members of the G7 in France, Italy, Canada and Japan, while the gap to Germany and the US is more than 20 per cent.

Under the scheme, eligible SMEs will be given vouchers to receive up to 50 per cent off the purchase of software that enhances productivity, up to a cap of £5,000.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said: “Our brilliant SMEs are the backbone of our economy, creating jobs and generating prosperity – so it’s vital they can access the tools they need to succeed.

“Help to Grow will ensure they are embracing the latest technology and management training, fuelling our plan for jobs by boosting productivity in all corners of the UK.”