Thursday marks the passing of Royal Assent for the Enterprise Act, a piece of legislation the government claims will improve the lot of SMEs across a whole range of measures.
The package of measures in the Act will “help the government deliver on many of its commitments, from cutting red tape and tackling late payment to boosting the quality and quantity of apprenticeships,” says BIS.
For those that missed the initial launch of the Act, the most eye catching measures include commitments to
- establish a Small Business Commissioner to help small firms resolve issues such as late payment
- include the actions of regulators in the government’s £10 billion deregulation target and increase transparency through annual reporting requirements
- extend the successful Primary Authority scheme to make it easier for businesses to access consistent, tailored and assured advice from local authorities, giving them greater confidence to invest and grow
- protect and strengthen the apprenticeship brand, introduce targets for apprenticeships in public sector bodies in England, and establish an Institute for Apprenticeships – an independent, employer-led body that will make sure apprenticeships meet the needs of business
- create a legal obligation for insurers to pay claims to businesses within a reasonable time
Additional measures under the Act will reform the business rates appeals system; enhance shop workers’ rights to opt out of working on Sundays; pave the way for bringing private capital in to the Green Investment Bank amend the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act relating to the Pubs Code and adjudicator; put a cap of £95,000 on exit payments in the public sector; allow the government to fund UK Govt Investments Ltd; and update the Industrial Development Act to help support the roll-out of telecommunications and broadband.