First announced last May, the Enterprise Bill is expected to save businesses £10 billion over the next five years, essentially by cutting red tape.
A change emblematic of the effort will be that any regulatory advice imparted by a business’s local council will be necessarily respected by other councils so the headache of adhering to differing rules is done away with.
Much of this undertaking is an answer to the excessive amount of UK and EU laws and regulations plaguing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Meeting legislative obligations takes up a significant amount of time and money for a small business – an estimated two weeks a year on average.
Additionally, the UK government plans to make the impact of regulation on businesses more transparent while creating incentives for regulators to design and produce policies that are better at meeting the needs of small enterprises.
- Resolving payment disputes
A fundamental measure of the bill is the creation of a small business conciliation service aimed at settling the glut of disputes, primarily over late payments, between small and large enterprises. Small businesses are owed roughly £30 billion in late payments, and many are either unaware of their rights to pursue these amounts or are reluctant to do so via the courts.
A small business commissioner will be appointed to facilitate support when payment disputes arise with other businesses. The commissioner’s wider task is to adjust expectations around late payments, diminishing their incidence and impact in order to protect small businesses from cash flow challenges that hinder their progress.
- The protection and improvement of apprenticeships
The bill seeks to promote productivity by protecting the term ‘apprenticeship’ in order to improve the way such arrangements are perceived. To prevent substandard training programmes from being passed off as apprenticeships, the measures bar businesses from naming courses or programmes as such unless they have been recognised as a statutory apprenticeship. The hope is that employers will have more confidence in apprenticeships and take on apprentices in increasing numbers. The government has a target of three million new apprenticeships by the end of the decade.
- Better broadband provisions
The Federation of Small Businesses reported that while small business owners consider a fast and reliable Internet connection to be vital, only 15% say they are very satisfied with their service. A poor connection can be damaging to the reputation of small businesses, especially when it comes to their dealings abroad. The Enterprise Bill is tackling this issue with an update to the Industrial Development Act that enables the funding of productivity-boosting broadband projects.
For more information, please contact:
Michael Davis, Managing Partner
T 020 7380 4963