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Politicians pledge to support small retailers

Proposals by both Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron to provide financial support for small businesses struggling to find investment have been welcomed by the BHF-BSSA (formerly the British Shops and Stores Association) and the British Retail Consortium.

Speaking at the CBI Conference in London on Monday, the Prime Minister outlined plans to establish a Growth Capital Fund to provide “a credible channel for private capital to invest in these established and growing SMEs”.

At the same conference, leader of the opposition Cameron made a commitment to supporting start-ups if the Conservatives win the next election. His proposals included a reduction of the small companies tax rate from 21p to 20p and the main rate of corporation tax to 25p.

BHF-BSSA communications dir-ector Michael Wheedon said: “Experience at our level is that finance for small businesses has been available throughout the credit crunch but the terms have been worsening.

“We would welcome any schemes that help small businesses get easier access to set up and grow.”

However, he was sceptical about whether the proposals would actually be implemented.

“It is tempting to suggest that politicians will promise anything in the run-up to a General Election and it is with bitter experience that we have to take all this with a pinch of salt,” said Wheedon.

The BRC also called for a greater commitment to larger retailers and broader ranging benefits. The BRC added it was equally as important to support large businesses as small and medium-sized ones.

A BRC spokesman said: “A lot of the measures outlined will only benefit smaller businesses. We would prefer to see a commitment to abolishing the proposed increase in National Insurance and to keeping the national minimum wage increase to a minimum. Those two measures are important across the board.”

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