Third sector will benefit from SME support package 01/12/08

Kevin Brennan, Minister for the Third Sector, has confirmed that third sector organisations will benefit from the support package for SMEs announced by Peter Mandelson, the Business Secretary .

The confirmation comes in response to ACEVO’s campaign for the third sector organisations to be included in the measures agreed for SMEs.

In a letter to Stephen Bubb, CEO of ACEVO, Kevin Brennan confirmed that:

* The commitment to paying SMEs within 10 days applies to third sector organisations
* BERR’s free checks of organisations’ financial health can be accessed by third sector businesses
* Social enterprises and other third sector organisations will be able to access a new Small Business Finance Scheme (a temporary guarantee scheme to enable up to £1 billion of new Government supported lending by banks), a £50 million fund to convert businesses’ debt into equity or quasi-equity, and a £25 million regional loan transition fund.

On the specific measures, Stephen Bubb said: “This is an important commitment from Government. When ACEVO consulted members on what action they would like to see taken, payment within 10 days was one of the top priorities, because many third sector organisations are facing serious cash-flow issues.”

Bubb added: “I welcome the fact that we now have clarity from Government that our sector will benefit from the support made available to SMEs. This is a good start. But Government will now need to do more to support third sector organisations as they struggle to help people through the recession.”

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