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Government unveils new measures to support small businesses


The Government has announced a range of measures designed to support small businesses, including faster broadband and better access to public sector contracts.


As part of its attempts to remove ‘some of the barriers’ facing small firms, the Government will offer £100 million in new broadband vouchers, worth up to £3,000 each. The vouchers will be available in 22 cities across the UK.


The Government will also implement Lord Young’s recommendations and give small businesses access to £230 billion of public sector contracts, whilst continuing in its efforts to help small firms secure a fairer energy deal from their suppliers.


Plans to curb late payment to small businesses will also be the subject of a new consultation in the coming months.


The package of measures was unveiled by the Enterprise Minister, Matthew Hancock, as retailers marked the UK’s first Small Business Saturday on 7 December.


The initiative, which emulates the Small Business Saturday celebration already held in the US, is designed to encourage people to shop locally and support small businesses in their communities.


Prime Minister David Cameron marked the occasion by visiting a local family butchers in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. He said: ‘Small businesses are the lifeblood of our country - essential for building a resilient, sustainable economy and a central part of my long-term economic plan for Britain.


‘They account for 99 in every 100 businesses and keep more than 11 million people in work - so this isn't about sentimentality, it's about the future of Britain, creating jobs and turning our economy around.’


Meanwhile, John Cridland, director general of the CBI, said Small Business Saturday was a ‘great way for people up and down the country to back their local high street in the run-up to Christmas’.