Business development ยท 4 May 2016

Small firms receive a boost as Enterprise Act becomes reality

Enterprise Act
?Together, these measures will give a big boost to British enterprise,” said Anna Soubry

The Enterprise Act introduced to parliament in September 2015 has received Royal Assent ? and brings with it plethora of small-business friendly policies set to impact on small UK firms.

The new law sees the government commit to creating a small business commissioner who will be responsible for helping small firms stand up to supply chain bullies and fight late payments.

?We look forward to working with Government on the remit, targets and the candidate requirements for the commissioner role,? said FSB national chairman Mike Cherry. ?There must also be clarity around formalising the Commissioner?s relationship with the prompt payment code and the powers the office has to publicly name and shame those companies that don?t comply. In order to do this effectively, the government should ensure?the commissioner has sufficient resources to tackle the ?26.8bn owed to smaller businesses across the UK.?

The act also includes a programme of reductions in bureaucracy ? following a series of cutting red tape reviews which invited the leaders of businesses large and small to provide the government with feedback on the regulatory burdens involved in doing business in the UK.

?Whenever we need to introduce new rules, we will consider their impact and make savings elsewhere. Through the Enterprise Bill, we are extending the scope of our deregulation target to cover the actions of regulators, going further than ever before to tackle troublesome red tape,? said business secretary Sajid Javid when the law was being discussed in March 2016.

As part of the red-tape reducing measures included in the legislation, the Primary Authority scheme ? which was opened up to small businesses in 2013 ? will be further extended. This will allow more small firms owners to form a legally-binding partnership with a local authority of their choice, and avoid having to seek advice on regulatory issues from multiple councils.

The act also creates a legal obligation for insurers to pay claims to businesses within a reasonable time, and establishes an employer-led Institute for Apprenticeships to ensure that apprentices are being trained to meet the needs of businesses.

?Together, these measures will give a big boost to British enterprise. The small business commissioner will help tackle the scandal of late payment ? one of the leading issues for smaller firms. While the positive steps to reduce the burden of regulation and give more young people the opportunity to do an apprenticeship will benefit millions of businesses across the country,? said business minister Anna Soubry.

?The Enterprise Act will help deliver the growth and security that benefits every single person in the country. It is proof that this government is delivering on its commitment to back the business owners who are the real heroes of our economic recovery,? added Javid.

Before being passed into law, the bill was debated three times in parliament. Provisions to relax Sunday trading laws in England and Wales were dropped in March 2016 after the government was defeated by 31 votes in a debate on the change. The final version of the legislation was passed by the House of Lords on 19 April.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics ? as well as running a tutoring company.

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