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February 15, 2022

Help to Grow: Digital Business groups urge reform of UK Government scheme

By Joe Pickard

Five business groups representing the digital, entrepreneurial, accountancy and small business sectors have come together to express their concerns about the effectiveness of the UK Government’s new Help to Grow: Digital scheme, a programme designed to improve the adoption of digital technology by small businesses across the UK.

The five organisations – AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians), ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), Coadec, The Entrepreneurs Network and Forum of Private Business – represent hundreds of thousands of members who serve or are themselves small businesses.

They have collectively written to Business Ministers Paul Scully MP and Lord Callanan, expressing support for the scheme but also raising a number of concerns over its effectiveness.

Recommendations include:

  • Reducing the eligibility threshold from five employees to one
  • Widening the range of providers and types of software available
  • Widening the vendor cohort to include resellers and partner networks
  • Increasing the range of costs the £5,000 of available funding can cover

AAT chief executive Sarah Beale said: “We are all keen to see Help to Grow: Digital succeed so that small businesses, their customers and the UK economy benefit from much needed improvements in digital skills. However, if the scheme is to be successful, the restrictive eligibility criteria that excludes over 90% of small businesses must change, as must the limited nature of the type of software, number of software providers and the narrow definition of what costs are covered.”

A copy of the joint letter is available here.

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