Businesses will receive at least £150m in government funding to help them access loans and equity investments over the next four years. The additional funding will ensure the small firm’s loan guarantee scheme, called the Enterprise Finance Guarantee, will continue for four years.

 

Further monies will be made available to ‘small businesses with growth potential’, the Treasury said. This may signal further funding the Enterprise Capital Funds scheme or even possible public involvement in the high street bank’s proposed £1.5bn Business Growth Fund.

Planned Regional Growth Fund (RGF) increased from £1bn to £1.4bn but it will be invested over three years rather than two. The money will be available for bids from the soon to be established Local Enterprise Partnerships to fund local economic development projects. It in part replaces the £1.4bn annual funding of the nine English regional development agencies. Eight of these will cease from 2012.

Reform of the way European Regional Development Funding is developed in England, linking it wherever possible with the Regional Growth Fund to maximise impact.

Up to £200m available a year by 2014 to fund an ‘elite network of research and development intensive technology and innovation centres’.

Closure of the £1bn Train to Gain workplace training scheme – to be replaced by an alternative small and medium sized business scheme.

£4.6bn science budget ring-fenced so that if efficiency savings are made, spending will remain flat before inflation.

£150m Higher Education Innovation Fund – designed to stimulate knowledge transfer between universities and business – to be overhauled.

The Business Department overall has to cut its budget by 25 per cent, made up of 40 per cent saving from changes to university teaching funding and an average 16 per cent savings from the other areas like business support.