The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill has been drawn up to “reduce the barriers that can hamper the ability of small businesses to innovate, grow and compete,” with the overarching role of the bill designed to remove and reduce unnecessary regulation that gets in the way of doing business.
Leading the Bill, Matthew Hancock, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise claimed in an online video to be “excited to be leading a bill that puts small business right at the heart of the Government agenda.”
We’ve briefly summarised measures included in the Bill below:
1) Access to Finance
In an attempt to help small business owners access necessary expansion finance, the Bill will:
- Remove legal invoicing barriers,
- Provide incentives for improvements of payment policies and practices,
- Encourage banking competition,
- Make it easier for UK Export Finance (UKEF) to support businesses wanting to export,
- Ensure Payment Systems Regulator’s powers are aligned with certain requirements,
- Provide faster, more modern cheque processing.
2) Regulatory Reform
To reduce the burden of unnecessary regulation, the Bill will:
- Commit the Government to streamline incorporation and tax registration,
- Review business appeals procedures,
- Agree upon a deregulation target,
- Ensure that all business regulations are reviewed regularly,
- Create statutory definitions for ‘small business’ and ‘micro business’,
- Allow the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to make and publish recommendations,
- Allow the Secretary of State to introduce liability exemptions for bodies concerned with accounting standards, without conditions needing to be met on the rewarding of a grant.
3) Public Sector Procurement
To help small businesses receive more direct access to public sector markets, the Bill will:
- Remove barriers for small businesses by allowing the Government to implement public procurement measures when necessary,
- Give power to the Minister for the Cabinet Office or the Secretary of State to investigate procurement processes and practices by Government departments (and contractors) who aren’t undertaking devolved functions.
4) The Pubs Code Adjudicator
To address the imbalance in bargaining power between pub-owning companies and their tenants, the Bill will publish a Statutory Code of Practice to govern these relationships to ensure fair treatment.
5) Childcare and Schools
The Bill will reduce a bureaucratic burden on schools by removing their requirement to register with Ofsted when taking two-year-olds, as well as promoting a growing childcare market by allowing a single registration for provision of childcare to include multiple premises.
6) Education Evaluation
Schools and colleges will become better evaluated by measures the Bill will introduce, tracking students throughout their education period and into the labour market.
7) Companies: Transparency
In a bid to encourage the UK to be seen “as a trusted and fair place to do business,” the Bill will:
- Require companies to produce a register of individuals with significant control over the company; increasing corporate transparency,
- Cancel bearer shares to ensure compliance with international standards,
- Prohibit (with few exceptions) one company acting as the director of another.
8) Company Filing Requirements
The Bill will simplify company filing requirements in a bid to improve the accuracy and integrity of the public companies register, making inaccurate data easier to remove.
9) Directors’ Disqualification
The Bill will increase confidence in the director disqualification regime by improving the transparency of conditions that can lead to disqualification, giving businesses and consumers a true belief that those who act incorrectly will be barred from becoming (or continuing as) directors.
To ensure effective oversight of insolvency practitioners and remove unnecessary costs, the Bill will:
- Encourage modernisation of the insolvency framework and remove creditor burdens,
- Reinforce the regulatory framework for insolvency practitioners,
- Create a reserve power to prohibit ‘pre-pack’ administration sales to connected parties when certain criteria isn’t met, intended to bring added confidence to unsecured creditors and other stakeholders.
Employment measures within the Bill will:
- Provide greater reassurance to whistleblowers and achieve best practices for handling such disclosures,
- Create negative financial consequences for non-payment of employment tribunal awards,
- Increase employer penalties for companies that underpay National Minimum Wage (NMW) on a per-worker basis,
- Invalidate exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts, allowing employers and employees to benefit from zero hours contracts while removing the potential for abuse,
- Seek to recover exit payouts given to public sector workers who left and re-joined the same part of the public sector within twelve months.
Advice on the Small Business, Enterprise and Emplyment Bill
To speak with a professional to discuss what the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill means for you, or for any other reason, contact us today on 020 8780 2349 or get in touch with us via our contact page to arrange a complimentary, no obligation meeting.
This blog is a general summary. It should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstance.