Local government plan to support smaller firms

Councils have promised to take a series of measures aimed at supporting local businesses through the economic downturn.

A report produced by the Local Government Association (LGA) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) sets out a number of policies that local councils can implement in order to make life easier for small firms.

The five key points of the plan cover cutting council bureaucracy and red tape to enable small businesses to get the help they need from local authorities.

The government will be urged by councils to consider making small business rate relief automatic so that firms that qualify don't have to go through a lengthy application process.

Councils will try to bring forward major building projects where planning permission is not required, helping to create work for small companies.

The BCC's network will provide local tailored help to small firms that are looking to expand into export markets.

And unnecessary restrictions should be dropped so that it's simpler for councils and businesses to work together in getting people back in to employment.

David Frost, the BCC's director general, said: "Businesses suffer when faced with bureaucracy so it's good to have a commitment from councils to cut red tape and jargon. It's especially welcome at this challenging time."