Measures announced in the Bill include reduction in red tape and greater access to finance for small businesses
The Government’s Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech this year and aims to build a stronger economy by offering greater support to small businesses. The Bill includes a number of measures to support small businesses covering employment regulation, access to finance and competition. The main elements of the Bill are to:
•make it easier for small businesses to access finance; improve payment practices between small businesses and their customers; provide small firms with fair access to the £230 billion spent each year in the form of public procurement contracts and increase the availability and sources of finance for businesses that want to invest
•ensure that the red tape that affects small businesses is frequently reviewed to ensure regulations are either cut or remain effective, and to place that requirement into law
•strengthen the reputation of the UK as a trusted and fair place to do business, by increasing transparency around who owns and controls UK companies with a register of beneficial ownership, strengthen rules on director disqualifications and remove unnecessary costs from insolvency law
•strengthen UK employment law by tackling National Minimum Wage abuses and cracking down on abuse in zero hours contracts
•make it easier for small businesses to expand overseas
•bring fairness to the sole traders and small businesses that run 20,000 or so tied pubs across England and Wales, with a new Statutory Code and independent Adjudicator to ensure that publicans who are tied to a pub owning company are treated fairly.
Chamber Executive Director Andrew Choi commented:
"The Small Business Bill is intended to open up new opportunities for small businesses to compete, get finance to create jobs, grow, innovate and export. Small businesses, and the wider business community, will welcome this Bill which, if implemented effectively, will simplify life for the millions of small businesses in the UK. Improving payment practices and helping small businesses to access public procurement contracts are particularly welcome. Small business owners will also be encouraged by further efforts to ease access to finance, although it is essential that these fresh efforts do not suffer the fate of previous initiatives, such as the British Business Bank or Funding for Lending, which have faced long postponements and deferrals.
Government must ensure that the measures included in this Bill are enacted without delay, and that new measures to tackle minimum wage abuses do not further burden the majority of honest businesses with greater compliance costs. We look forward to hearing more on the details of these announcements and urge all parties to ensure that the Bill progresses through Parliament without undue delay ahead of the General Election next year."