John Glen MP
"We are determined to make the UK one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business"
Commentary by John Glen MP,
Economic Secretary to the Treasury
Year-on-year, London Stock Exchange Group showcases a great collection of businesses that are worthy of our admiration. This year is no different, yet it is more important than ever that we champion these companies.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are engines of our economy and play a critical role in every part of the UK. This year has undoubtedly been a challenging year for these companies with COVID-19 delivering an unprecedented shock to our economy. I am inspired by the way in which UK SMEs have risen to the challenge, adapting their operations and constantly innovating to continue to serve their customers and clients. They have demonstrated real ingenuity and resilience, and they are spurring on the UK’s recovery.
The Government is proud to have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with UK SMEs, delivering one of the most generous and comprehensive packages of business support globally. This has included grants, government-backed loans, deferred VAT payments, business rates relief, support for the self-employed, protections for commercial tenants, the furlough scheme and now the Job Support Scheme and Job Retention Bonus. Together, these measures are helping to support businesses through uncertain times, allowing them to protect jobs so that they are ready to take advantage of new opportunities in the future.
As our economy recovers and moves forward, we will continue to support SMEs – to grow and create jobs in our communities. We have a clear plan to help current and future British businesses succeed, both in the UK, where they drive regional prosperity, and overseas, as the UK opens up to international markets.
We are determined to make the UK one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business. One of the biggest challenges for SMEs is raising the finance that suits their needs. The British Business Bank continues to support SMEs to this end: 98,000 smaller businesses have received over £8bn of finance since its formation in 2014. Small businesses facing cash flow pressures caused by COVID-19 have also been able to access two government-guaranteed loan schemes – the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – with over a million businesses benefitting from more than £53bn in loans to date. Those that rely on equity investment have also had access to our Future Fund, with over 700 businesses benefitting so far.
Looking through this year’s collection of innovative, high-growth companies, I am delighted to see so many examples of green businesses and sustainable initiatives. The coming years will be defining in terms of how the UK leads the fight in tackling climate change. As hosts of COP26 in November 2021, the UK is determined to show true global leadership on this critical issue and the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs was an important indication of the Government’s commitment. These ambitious, new, sustainable industries will create new job opportunities for Britons while also allowing the UK to deliver on its climate targets – they deserve our admiration.
As the economy moves forward, we will continue to ensure that capital flows to British SMEs, so that they can create the jobs, wealth and industries of the future. I hope to see the companies in this publication and many others go on to further successes. The Government will do its utmost to support them.