In these hard-pressed times, one would expect managers of both large and small businesses to be queuing up for government grants to help stave off some of the effects of the present recession. Surprisingly, this is not the case. Last year, for example, the Government made more than £500 million available to assist UK businesses in 1990. A large proportion of that was not taken up, seemingly for the reason that many businesses find it difficult to discover what is available and who to contact.
Unfortunately, even where businessmen have looked for help, ignorance about such matters has led some to grief, as a recent case in Scotland demonstrates. Businessmen there were approached by a man promising them that they could win large EC grants - if they first handed over a fee to his company. He promised advice about the availability of EC grants and a money-back guarantee. But the cheap folder clients received contained merely a collection of papers which could be picked up from any government office - for free. The 'advisory' company later bashed with debts of more than £45,000. it was soon discovered that businesses and non-profit organisations in England and Wales had also been taken in. 'In circumstances like this it's always a case of the buyer beware,' Stephen Alambritis, press officer of the Federation of Small Businesses says. 'Ask for lots of referenced and beware where they ask for money up front, though a small deposit is not unreasonable.'
Information on such schemes is often available through a bank or government institutions. Lloyds, for example, operate a Grandfather scheme, started in 1989 and since used by 2,000 companies.