The government has announced plans to look into UK employment rules that could be suffocating entrepreneurship and the country’s small businesses.
In a speech on 24 April, the business secretary Sajid Javid launched a call for evidence? from small business leaders across Britain, asking for their views on non-compete clauses frequently written into employment contracts and which can prevent workers from competing for business against a former employer, or working for a competitor for a set period.
Such clauses are only enforceable and upheld to protect proven and legitimate business interests, yet it has been suggested that non-compete clauses reduce the ability of startups and small firms to hire top talent.
The call for evidence will ask employers and workers to submit views on whether non-compete clauses act as a barrier to innovation and UK employment, as part of the government’s wider Innovation Plan that aims to turn Britain into Europe’s most desired destination to start a business.
Javid said: I want to see more enterprising startups and greater productivity in a free and fair marketplace, by taking down any barriers that are curbing innovation and entrepreneurship.
Due to be published in late 2016, the Innovation Plan will look into a range of areas and set out a plan to turn Britain into a better place to turn ideas into new products and services.
Amongst other measures, the research will investigate how better regulation can boost innovation and create opportunities to use a larger proportion of public procurement funds to support new businesses.
Commenting on the government’s call for evidence, Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones said: Entrepreneurial individuals need to be able to ease out of employment and into self-employment so a move to look into how employment contracts reflect this and the modern economy is warmly welcomed.
Unlike previous government research initiatives into entrepreneurship, it’s not yet clear whether a figurehead from the world of business will be chosen to lead the project. Previous government-led initiatives of a similar nature have seen leaders like lingerie mogul Michelle Mone and Conservative MP Lord Young deliver research findings to parliament.