New measures designed to encourage people to start a home business were announced on Friday at a summit attended by the Prime Minister, David Cameron. The package addresses planning regulation, rented housing and business rates.
Updated planning guidance will clarify that planning permission is not normally needed to run a business from home. Running a business from a rented home will be made simpler, with the law changing so landlords do not feel residential tenancy agreements are undermined. New business rate guidance will also clarify that in the majority of cases, home-based businesses will not need to pay business rates.
The recent announcement follows research by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Enterprise Nation. According to government figures, the 2.9 million home-based businesses in the UK contribute to £300 billion to the economy, and about 70% of new businesses start off in the home.
Speaking at the Home Business Summit in London, Cameron said: “Our economy is one of the fastest-growing in the Western World and it needs new businesses to sustain that. Of course we want our big established businesses to grow but the real jobs growth I think will come from start-ups”
He said the package was “not just about the long-term economic plan, not just about jobs, or creating businesses”, but a “key issues about values”.
“I want us to be a nation of entrepreneurs that really respect entrepreneurialism and enterprise, something that we imbue in young people in our schools. I want this to be the best country in the world to start to run, and to expand a new business. We are still some way away from that.”
Cameron suggested he was keen to change stereotypes of home business owners.
“Sometimes when people think of home business they think of some cottage industry on the edge of the economy. 70% of new businesses are home businesses – the scale is immense.”
Business minister Matthew Hancock, who announce the measures said there were “specifically for home businesses”. He said “These change along with a host of small changes I hope will make a step in the right direction.”
Hancock stated that further issues would be looked at, including simplifying food labelling, and enabling home business owners to offer apprenticeships.
“These are specific policy changes that I am going to take away and look at changing”
Chief Executive of the British Property Federation said that the package supported the government’s measures to remove unnecessary barriers to setting up businesses at home.
At least some of the “kitchen table” businesses of today will expand and become the commercial property space-seekers of tomorrow”, she said.