Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act receives Royal Assent

A wide ranging Act designed to make UK the best place to start and grow a business have become reality by being granted Royal Assent.

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act paves the way for businesses to improve access to finance, put an end to zero hour contracts and creates fairer provisions for tied pub tenants.

The Act will provide a path for small businesses to expand, creating jobs, assist with innovation and help bolster the economy. .

Business Secretary’s comments

Business Secretary Vince Cable has stated:

“Small businesses provide jobs for millions of people across the country and are driving the economic recovery. The Small Business Act will create the right environment for small businesses to continue to thrive by giving them greater access to finance to help them innovate and grow, and make it easier for them to export goods and services made in Britain.

“The Bill’s measures also mean there is nowhere to hide for firms who do not play by the rules, whether by abusing zero hours contracts or not paying the minimum wage.”

Business Minister Matthew Hancock’s comments

Business Minister Matthew Hancock has stated:

“The government has backed small businesses like never before to build a Britain where entrepreneurs can break the mould and take on the world.

“Coming from a small business background myself, I know first-hand how cumbersome bureaucracy can stifle your ambitions to grow.

“The Small Business Act is the first set of laws specifically to help level the playing field for small business. There really has never been a better time to start and grow a business in the UK.”

How the Act will assist small businesses

The Act is designed to assist small businesses through the following measures:

•increase availability and sources of investment by relaxing access to finance.

•If a bank declines to offer finance to small business, requiring the bank to forward business’s details to alternative finance providers.

•Speeding up cheque clearing times by introducing cheque imaging.

• Regularly reviewing regulations and red tape affecting businesses and ensuring they remain effective.

• Introducing an appeal system for non economic regulators to ensure business’s needs are taken into account with an effective appeal and complaints process.

• Providing assistance to small businesses who wish to expand overseas.

•Public procurement to be streamlined so small businesses can access public sector contracts.

Other legislation coming into effect for small businesses

• Cracking down on “exclusivity clauses” and zero hour contracts, which prevent individuals from obtaining employment else where.

• Amending the maximum penalty for breaking the Minimum Wage Legislation, so it can be calculated on a per worker basis.

• Increasing transparency around ownership and controls for UK companies by creating a publicly assessable register of individuals who have significant control over a company.

• Widening matters of misconduct which courts must take into account over director disqualification cases, reviewing conduct in overseas companies and assisting creditors with recouping their losses.

• Overhauling employment tribunals, introducing penalties to ensure employment tribunal awards are paid promptly.

• Tracking students in their journey from education to labour and providing trends and information to schools, colleges and universities to shape government policy.

•Removing unnecessary costs and streamlining insolvency law, ensuring insolvency fees reflect the actual work undertaken.

For more information on how this small business legislation can affect your business, please contact Avery Clifton on 0118 907 9224.