Support for businesses:

  • Low interest loans to businesses with sales of less than £50m
  • Crediteasing scheme underwriting £40bn in low interest loans
  • £1bn regional growth fund

Entrepreneur’s view: Paul Lindley, founder, Ella’s Kitchen: “I’ve been underwhelmed by specific government policies to encourage startups to start, and small businesses to grow to real wealth-creating enterprises. This statement heartened me. Whether £40bn is enough and the banks play ball remains to be seen.”

Retailer view: Stephen Robertson, director general, BRC: “This will help. But small retailers need the prospect of a return that makes investment worthwhile. The government must improve the prospects for consumer spending.”

Manufacturing view: Melanie Leech, director general, FDF: “With over 90% of food and drink manufacturers classed as SMEs, we welcome credit easing.”

City view: Trefor Griffith, Grant Thornton head of food and beverage: “There’s much more for smaller businesses than for larger players. The schemes should give small food companies better access to funding but it remains to be seen how much paperwork they will have to get through to unlock it.”


  • Small retailer exemption extended from October 2012 to April 2013
  • Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme extended so anyone investing up to £100,000 in a start-up with assets of less than £200,000 will be eligible for 50% income tax relief
  • Enterprise Zones in areas including the Black Country, Liverpool and Sheffield

PL: “We’ve lobbied the government specifically on introducing a Consumer Excellence tax relief to ensure small businesses invest in understanding what their consumers want, and the SME bond idea pioneered by King of Shaves and Hotel Chocolat also could have attracted the Chancellor’s ear.”

SR: “The Chancellor should have taken the opportunity to switch to a lower CPI-based rise, as he has done for pensions and benefits. Extra rate relief for small businesses is clearly good news for some small retailers but a qualifying rateable value below £12,000 is rare in South East England.”

ML: “With 96% of the sector made up of SMEs, changing the R&D tax credit system by implementing an PHOTO BY KeystoneUSA-ZUMA/Rex Features ‘above-the-line’ credit is welcome.”

TG: “The extension of the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme will be a big boost for food entrepreneurs, from micro-brewers to niche food suppliers. But there is little to celebrate for larger companies.”


  • Rise of 3.02ppl planned for 1 January scrapped
  • Motorists still face 4p rise from 1 August

PL: “For small business, fuel costs can be disproportionately large so this measure is warmly welcomed. It certainly builds my confidence a little.”

SR: “Osborne must be ready to drop the increase postponed until August entirely.”

ML: “The decision will provide some respite.”

TG: “Welcome news.”


  • £5bn national infrastructure plan to boost the UK’s road, rail and broadband
  • Further £20bn investment expected from pension funds
  • £5bn new spending over three years, including £1bn for the rail network
  • Go-ahead for 35 road and rail projects

PL: “Investing in sectors bodes well for a mindset change. Incentives to encourage clusters of skills, experience and knowledge in one area, coupled with specialist academy school investment there, can encourage entrepreneurial activity. I see opportunities for the food industry in a number of clusters.”

SR: “The government is absolutely right to target spending to infrastructure that genuinely increases business efficiency.”

ML: “We urge government to regard food and drink as an energyintensive industry.”

TG: “UK distribution networks are already pretty efficient. But given the quantity of food transported, improvements are welcome.”

What’s missing:

PL: “Roll Enterprise Zone thinking out to the food and drink industry, please, George! Take the Solna area of Stockholm as a model.”

SR: “We need action that makes a meaningful difference, not just promises and consultations, by pulling down regulatory barriers that hold growth back.”

ML: “We have written to the secretary of state so the industry can qualify for extra packages of support in relation to energy.”

TG: “Smaller food companies struggle more than their larger counterparts with red tape. The Chancellor could do more to ease that burden – there is little use introducing new initiatives to support small business if it means they have to contend with a mountain of paperwork.”