The Autumn Statement has been delayed by one day
and will now take place on Thursday 5 December, the Treasury has confirmed.
The change of date ensures that the Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement
speech to the House of Commons will not take place while Prime Minister David Cameron is out of the country.
The Prime Minister will lead a major trade delegation to China at the start of December,
which he said is aimed at:
"opening the way for British companies to benefit from China's vast and varied markets and preparing
the way for a new level of Chinese investment here in the UK."
An update on HM Treasury's official Twitter account announced:
"Tonight PM says that he will lead delegation to China in early December.
As a result Autumn Statement will now be on Thursday 5th December. "
The first round of funding for the investment arm of the Government's Business Bank,
designed to stimulate the flow of finance to small businesses,has been announced by the Business Secretary Vince Cable.
Outlined in the 2012 Autumn Statement, the Business Bank will consolidate a number of existing finance schemes for SMEs.
It will also fund the provision of advice and support for businesses to start-up and grow.
The Bank's £300 million investment programme will allocate funds to existing lenders and specialist finance companies,
which will then provide debt finance to SMEs.
The first wave of funding for the investment programme amounts to £45 million, of which:
· £30 million will be allocated to Praesidian Capital Europe; and
· £15 million will go to BMS Finance, which has a focus on SMEs
with high growth potential and those nearing profitability.
Both funds are expected to start lending to SMEs in early 2014.
Announcing the funds, the Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
"The first investments from the British Business Bank's investment programme will provide choice to smaller businesses
looking to secure vital finance to help invest."
Mr Cable also announced a new £1 million business-to-business mentoring campaign and a £10 million
start-up fund for entrepreneurs in the synthetic biology market.
The Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said: "Government has an important role
in providing a coherent package of measures to support businesses,
but there is also a role for business-to-business support, with successful, growing small businesses
talking to others about how exporting, hiring and business planning can take a business to the next level."
The cost of goods and services for consumers increased by 2.2 per cent between
October 2012 and October 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The consumer prices index (CPI) 12-month rate of inflation measures the rise or fall
in the cost of household goods and services over the past year.
CPI fell from 2.7 per cent in September, the first time it has been lower than 2.5 per cent since April.
The Bank of England's stated target for CPI inflation is two per cent.
The main reasons for the fall in the rate were lower prices for fuel in the transport sector
and reduced costs for tuition fees in education.
Commenting on the fall in the rate, David Kern of the British Chambers of Commerce said:
"The larger than expected fall in inflation will ease pressures on businesses and consumers,
particularly at a time when wages aren't rising at the same rate. However while we expect inflation
to fall further over the next year, this will not be a smooth process. Some of the October declines
are likely to be reversed, especially when energy price increases take effect."