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Cameron to pledge £2,000 growth vouchers for SMEs

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Prime Minster David Cameron is to pledge more support for small businesses in a speech at the Federation of Small Business’s (FSB) policy conference this morning.

Cameron will promise £2,000 worth of advice for 20,000 small companies via an SME growth voucher scheme.

He will tell the conference: “This will make it easier for you to grow, to create jobs and to help give this country the long-term security we are working towards.”

Small businesses will be able to use the vouchers to gain advice across a variety of topics, including HR-related ones like developing skills, hiring and improving leadership. The advice will be accessed via an online marketplace.

CIPD chartered members will be able to register as preferred suppliers on the marketplace.

Jill Miller, research adviser at the CIPD, welcomed the move.

“In today’s knowledge economy, the success or failure of many of these businesses depends greatly on the skills and commitment of their people,” she said. “Great people management and development is therefore crucial, but the majority of small businesses are unlikely to have a dedicated HR function.

“Our research tells us that the needs and capabilities of SMEs in this regard vary hugely according to their stage of growth and the individual nature of the business.

“The smallest business may simply need help with how to go about hiring their first employee, while those that are growing quickly may want advice on how to make sure they have the right people with the right skills in place to support their growth, as well as ensuring their founding values and ethos are not lost as the company grows.”

Cameron is also expected to promise to cut red tape by scrapping or simplifying thousands of regulations that affect SMEs. He will claim this will save businesses more than £850 million a year.