Future business support funding after Brexit must help to rebalance growth across the UK. That means targeting more deprived areas across the country, where firms have significantly lower turnover.

Sharing Prosperity, a new report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC), says it is critical that funding levels are not cut when the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) comes into effect.

The creation of UKSPF will give the Government greater flexibility when distributing business support funds across the UK and devolved nations. The report calls for small businesses to be front and centre of the new fund, with a specific focus on small firms in more deprived parts of the country, described in the report as ‘less favoured areas’.

Small firms in such areas report significantly lower turnover growth than those based elsewhere. It’s clear that access to support needs to be refocused on them. This support must move beyond job creation. It should include a focus on improving productivity, making a positive social impact on communities, modernising business practices and improving the environment.

The research shows firms in these areas are not short of ambition. Half (49.5 per cent) of small business owners strive to become a business leader in their community, which is significantly more compared with those in other areas (43.5 per cent).

So, the current overall level of funding must be at least maintained and the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) must ensure that every taxpayers’ pound is targeted effectively. The report calls on each LEP to create their own strategy to identify areas in need of more funding and plan tailored support for them.

As the UK leaves the EU, a large amount of business support funding will be transferred to UK control. Daunting, perhaps. However it’s also a great opportunity to prioritise public sector investment into those places and businesses that will really deliver the most beneficial impact at the local, regional and national levels.