Lancashire businesses welcome extension of digital transformation support to small firms

A Lancashire based business support group has welcomed a Government move to expand help for firms to go digital.

Martin McTague, the FSB National Chairman
Martin McTague, the FSB National Chairman

The Federation of Small Businesses said that now allowing firms of fewer than five employees to gain access to the Help to Grow: Digital scheme, was a move which would help millions of small businesses.

FSB National Chair Martin McTague said: “This is an extremely welcome move – the Government has rightly listened to FSB’s call to expand digital support to all small employers.

“Until today, the majority of small businesses were arbitrarily excluded from the scheme due to the requirement to employ at least five employees.

"Many of them want to make productivity gains through technology adoption. However, they often do not have the resources to do so, especially when they are faced with steep inflation, soaring energy bills, supply chain disruption and a widespread labour shortage under the cost of doing business crisis.“Reducing the threshold to one employee really makes a difference in this space. Together with the addition of e-Commerce software and one-to-one advice for SMEs on technology adoption, this will enable more small businesses to fulfil their growth ambitions and in turn spur our economy.“Research shows adopting relevant software for three years or more translates into higher sales per employee – the use of CRM boosts this by 18.4 per cent while adopting cloud-based computing means a 13.5 per cent increase. E-commerce software also pushes sales per employee up by 7.5 per cent.

“We encourage small businesses to consider how best they can use this scheme.”

“We are glad that Ministers are listening to our views and look forward to continuing to work with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on helping small firms grow their business through technology adoption.”

Business Minister Lord Callanan said: “Boosting productivity isn’t some abstract concept to be sniffed at – for individual SMEs it means bigger sales and breaking into new markets. It can add £100 billion to the British economy overall, creating jobs and opportunity across the country.

“Adopting the latest technology is proven to help businesses make the most of their potential, and by making more than one million firms eligible for the scheme, we’re helping to level up the UK economy and bolster the ability of our businesses to compete with the best worldwide.”