19 December 2011 by

The Governments Autumn Statement

On 29 November 2011, George Osborne delivered the Government’s autumn statement.

The following points should be of particular interest to businesses:

  1. The Government is to make £1 billion available to businesses through the Business Finance Partnership. This initiative is aimed at helping businesses raise funds from non bank sources and will be available to mid sized business and SMEs in the UK. The Business Finance Partnership will initially work with the private sector to provide co-investment through loan funds. The Government is also exploring the option of non-bank lending through other means in the future. Funds will be allocated from early 2012.
  2. The launch of the National Loan Guarantee Scheme will provide assistance to businesses with a turnover of less than £50 million by reducing the cost of bank loans. The scheme will run for 2 years and will allow participating banks to provide up to £20 billion of cheaper funding backed by a government guarantee, if the lower cost of funding is then made available to qualifying businesses. The government guarantee is likely to see a reduction of at least 1% in the typical annual interest rate of a business loan, and the intention is to make the funds available for new loans and overdrafts.
    However, not all banks will wish to be involved in this scheme and the Government has stated that to qualify for the guarantees, banks must show that they have passed on the cost benefit of the Government’s guarantee to their business customers.
  3. The Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) will be extended so that it is available to businesses with an annual turnover of £44 million from January 2012. The EFG has previously been available to businesses with an annual turnover of up to £25 million and provides loans of between £1,000 and £1million. There are various restrictions on who can benefit from the loans, however it is available to most businesses in a wide range of sectors.
  4. The Government will also extend the small business rate relief period for a further six months from 1 October 2012 and allow businesses to defer 60% of the increase in their 2012-2013 business rate bills as a result of the RPI uprating. If businesses elect to defer the increase, they will then have to repay the increase equally across the following two years.

The Government also announced that it is exploring more avenues to provide more cost-effective and accessible credit to SMEs and mid-sized businesses. Further announcements could be made in the 2012 Budget, so watch this space.

If you have any questions, please call or email Jonathan on 020 7288 4755

6 December 2011 by

Probate

If there’s one thing lawyers are criticised for more than any other, it’s not being easy to understand – and jargon is the reason why. It’s probably a fair criticism. The law, like any other specialist area of human endeavour, has developed almost a language of its own over the 1,000 or so years it has evolved in this country, and if you don’t know the terminology, legalese can be difficult to understand.

8 December 2011 by

The Rights of Unmarried Couples, a cautionary tale: Part 2

Those of you that read my blog of 20 May 2011 will no doubt have been waiting with bated breath for the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Jones –v- Kernott. This was the cautionary tale of a couple that had been separated for more than 12 years when Mr Kernott sought a half share in their former home despite having made no contribution towards the mortgage or other household costs since separation.

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