Budget 2010 brings tax breaks for SMEs and computer games industry


Budget 2010 brings tax breaks for SMEs and computer games industry

Rebecca Thomson

Small businesses and the computer games industry were winners in today's Budget, with the chancellor Alastair Darling planning tax breaks and investment help.

He said the computer games industry would receive support similar to the help the British film industry receives.

"The computer games sector is a highly successful growing industry - we need to keep British talent in this country," he said. "We need to help the UK's technology and innovation sectors achieve their potential to commercialise new British discoveries."

Help for small technology companies includes new targets for Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB, which must increase their lending to small businesses from £34bn this year to £94bn next year.

And the government is increasing the number of public sector contracts that must be awarded to small and medium businesses (SMEs) to 15%. The contracts will be worth a total of £15bn across the public sector. But no mention was made of Gordon Brown's "business service companies", announced yesterday. There was also only a brief mention of the government's broadband plans.

The government is also cutting business rates for one year from October, with Darling reporting this will lead to 345,000 companies paying nothing at all, and one million seeing a reduction. The Time to Pay scheme, which allows SMEs to spread tax payments, will be extended for a year.

A new organisation is being created to oversee the £4bn-worth of government support currently available to SMEs. The idea is that the organisation will help businesses find their way through the lists of different types of support available. A new investment fund has also been created, with £200m committed and £500m planned.

The government plans to create a fast-track system for complaints about refusal of credit. It will examine credit decisions to see if they are fair and will have legal powers to intervene if they are not.

Elsewhere in the Budget, government departments are today publishing documents detailing how they will save a total of £11bn a year through efficiency measures. The number of civil servants in London will be reduced by a third, with 15,000 moving out over the next five years.

And universities will receive a one-off payment of £270m to provide extra university places in 2011, and make savings at the same time.

Budget 2010: Live reports, analysis and debate >>

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