CBI and Sajid Javid discuss Enterprise Bill

Friday 22 May 2015

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has been discussing ideas for better regulation and boosting competitiveness with new business secretary Sajid Javid.

CBI's director general John Cridland and deputy director general Katja Hall met with Mr Javid ahead of the announcement of the new Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill at the Engine Room in Bristol. Mr Javid says that the Enterprise Bill is intended to make the UK the best place in Europe for people to start up a business and it is also hoped to create two million more jobs over the next five years.

As well as discussing ideas for better regulation, the three talked about business priorities where EU reform is concerned so that competitiveness can be boosted. Ms Hall and Mr Cridland described their meeting with Mr Javid as 'positive'.

The new Enterprise Bill includes a number of measures for sole traders, limited companies and contractors. For example, it sees the implementation of a Small Business Conciliation Service, which is intended to settle legal disputes more quickly between small firms and larger businesses. In particular, it aims to combat poor payment practices.

Additionally, over the next five years, the new bill aims to cut £10 billion of red tape that small businesses currently have to deal with. This area of the bill not only focuses on measures in Whitehall but, for the first time, it also looks into what independent regulators are doing.

In response to the announcement of the Enterprise Bill, Ms Hall said: “Businesses will welcome the government getting out of the blocks early by following through on its commitment to cut red tape.

“And moving forward, it should use its influence in Brussels to combat ‘life-style’ regulation that impacts unfairly on British businesses, such as overly-detailed rules on agency temporary staff and working time.

“We would like to see more details on how the Small Business Conciliation Service will work in practice, as we believe that customers and suppliers should deal directly to reach agreement wherever possible. Greater transparency around payment terms and performance is the best way to instil a culture of prompt payment.”

The issue of late payment is currently one of the top problems facing self employed people. According to research from Bacs, small businesses in the UK are currently owed more than £32 billion. However, many small business owners are reluctant to take these issues to court because they are concerned about how much it will affect them commercially.

By Victoria McDonnell

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