Business experts welcome Enterprise bill

Thursday 21 May 2015

Experts on professional recruitment and self employment have welcomed aspects of the new Small Business, Enterprise and Employment bill that is set to become law.

Business secretary Sajid Javid gave a speech in his hometown of Bristol that discussed measures included in the bill, which could benefit sole traders, limited companies and contractors.

Among those measures are plans to include a Small Business Conciliation Service, which will help to settle legal disputes between small firms and larger businesses, particularly over poor payment practices.

Additionally, the bill includes measures to cut £10 billion of red tape for small businesses over the next five years.

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) welcomed the cutting of red tape and introduction of the Small Business Conciliation Service.

Head of external affairs and compliance at APSCo Samantha Hurley said that restrictions were put in place to protect vulnerable workers in the blue collar staffing sector but that they had been broadly applied and this has proved challenging for the professional recruitment sector.

Ms Hurley also said: “We particularly welcome the proposed offering of a conciliation service as we believe that any measure which helps to engender a responsible payment culture can only be a good thing.”

However, she added that it is not certain whether small businesses will be in a position, commercially, to use the conciliation service. She cited the fact that a number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are often reluctant to sue clients who pay late because of concerns that it could have an adverse commercial effect.

Yet, Ms Hurley said that if the service saves SMEs legal fees when it comes to fighting claims then this is a good move.

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) also welcomed the announcement that the Small Business Conciliation Service will be created. This is something that it has long been lobbying for.

Chief executive of IPSE Chris Bryce said: “Late payment is a crippling issue for the self-employed who need to be paid on time to keep their business afloat. The Small Business Conciliation Service, announced today as part of a new Enterprise Bill, was a central part of our recent manifesto to help bring an end to the scourge of late pay without the need for lengthy and costly court action.”

Mr Bryce added that the service could be used to ensure the UK's microbusinesses have somewhere to turn when clients do not pay them on time. Additionally, he said it could encourage a better payment culture between small and large businesses.

By Victoria McDonnell

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