A new report jointly published by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Warwick Business School has highlighted a significant disparity in net zero support for small businesses across England, prompting a call to action for businesses in Waltham Forest to engage with the findings.

The report, titled “The Less Than 1% Club,” reveals that less than 1% of local small firms in England have benefited from key local support schemes focused on achieving net-zero emissions. Despite over 700 net-zero interventions carried out through 282 programs across the country, accessibility remains a critical concern as the UK’s 2050 net-zero target approaches.

The research identifies 719 interventions aimed at SMEs, including online tools and information, training, one-on-one advice, and grants, but the majority of small firms are still left without assistance. The situation is especially dire in regions like the East of England, with only 43 interventions for over 540,000 small businesses, compared to the South West, which offered 102 interventions for over 530,000 small businesses.

Adding to the challenge is the uncertain funding landscape for net-zero business support in England, with the European Regional Development Fund, the second most common funding source, ending in June due to Brexit.

The Report’s Recommends:

National ‘Help to Green’ Scheme: The report proposes the establishment of a national ‘Help to Green’ scheme, which includes an online hub for practical information on reducing energy usage and carbon emissions, along with a voucher or grant scheme, The financial support would enable small businesses to invest in sustainable solutions.

Streamlined Business Support: The report calls for a simplification of the business support landscape by creating a single brand, such as “Business England,” to enhance accessibility for businesses of all sizes while maintaining local connections.

Audits and Grants: Small businesses should be offered a combination of audits and grants tailored to their specific needs, providing clarity on the necessary steps and helping overcome financial barriers.

Richard Askew, FSB England Policy Unit Chair, stressed the vital role of small businesses in achieving net-zero goals by 2050. He expressed concern about the accessibility of existing programs and their uncertain future due to changing funding sources, emphasizing the importance of closing the gap between engagement and achieving net zero.

The New ‘Help to Green’ scheme

The ‘Help to Green’ scheme is a FSB initiative backed by 11 other trade associations and former Energy Minister Chris Skidmore’s Review of Net Zero, aims to bridge the resource gap for small businesses in their journey towards achieving net-zero emissions. The ‘Help to Green’ scheme is a comprehensive initiative designed to aid small businesses in achieving net-zero emissions. It comprises an online hub providing practical guidance on energy and carbon reduction. Additionally, the scheme includes a substantial voucher or grant program, offering up to £5,000 per application, to support investments in low-emission transport, sustainable manufacturing, energy efficiency, and microgeneration.

A Green Revolution Begins in Waltham Forest

In light of these revelations, the report passionately calls upon both the UK Government and local authorities to swiftly act. Our aim is simple: to ensure every small business in Waltham Forest can access the crucial support needed to propel us towards a net-zero future.

We hope these groundbreaking findings will ignite a powerful transformation within our business community! The ‘Help to Green’ scheme is here, armed with up to £5,000 in grants and a wealth of energy-saving insights. Join us in this eco-conscious journey! Together, we’ll usher in a new era of sustainability for Waltham Forest businesses.


BIPC in-person support
1-2-1 support, events, workshops and more from your local WF business team.

Business news

Business Insights

Spotlights on Business

Website by CRATE Places UK Ltd for London Borough of Waltham Forest

© Waltham Forest Connected 2023-24

Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy

Follow us on: Facebook | Twitter / X  | Instagram