Has the UK turned ‘the corner’?

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But much of this week’s mayhem has been good mayhem for small business – and that’s a refreshing change to many of the dismally gloomy weeks we’ve had since 2008.

Starting the ball rolling on Monday was the announcement over the pub code, and ministerial acceptance of plans to regulate the big pub comps, and crucially, an adjudicator with the power to fine.

The code would contain mandatory rules for all companies owning more than 500 pubs and would aim to stop abuses of the beer tie, which has been partly blamed for pub closures.

Reform to the pub sector is long overdue. The big breweries don’t like it one bit, but that speaks volumes about an industry decimated by the punishing beer duty escalator, and the smoking ban.

On Tuesday the Forum was one of two business organisations invited to give evidence at a Parliamentary inquiry in to late payment. I won’t go in to too much detail here, suffice to say our head of policy, Alex Jackman, had much to say on the issue. But it’s great to see our lobbying work pay off in the corridors of power. MPs are taking notice of the issue, without which the battle can never be won.

On Wednesday it was Funding for Lending, the BoE revisiting their flagship scheme to, in their own words, ‘supercharge’ it. The scheme has helped get money flowing in to the mortgage markets, but has not been as effective for SME borrowing. FLS has now been tweaked, with government agreeing to widen the scheme for asset and invoice finance lenders, and making the scheme more attractive for lenders through various mechanisms.

Quite simply, the carrot couldn’t be any bigger for banks to lend now, and if this doesn’t work, then it may well have to be a stick time. But let’s hope it doesn’t get that to that.

On Thursday we saw the Government announce GDP figures, and the 0.3% growth was more than many City economists had predicted. OK, it’s not great, but this is real growth of 0.3%, and it’s all home grown too. Last time we had growth was in Q3 2012, the figures then hugely distorted by the Olympics.

So all in all, that’s welcome.

To quote Churchill: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

No one likes to use the green shoots analogy any more, but it’s just possible, just possible, the UK may be turning a corner.