The UK’s 5.4 million businesses are set to benefit as the Enterprise Bill receives Royal Assent yesterday (4 May 2016) and becomes the Enterprise Act.
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.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:
The Enterprise Act will help deliver the growth and security that benefits every single person in the country. It is proof that this government is delivering on its commitment to back the business owners who are the real heroes of our economic recovery.
The Enterprise Act includes measures 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
Business Minister Anna Soubry said:
Together these measures will give a big boost to British enterprise. The Small Business Commissioner will help tackle the scandal of late payment – one of the leading issues for smaller firms. While the positive steps to reduce the burden of regulation and give more young people the opportunity to do an apprenticeship will benefit millions of businesses across the country.
Additional measures under the Enterprise 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 Government Investments Limited; and update the Industrial Development Act to help support the roll-out of telecommunications and broadband.
Some provisions of the Enterprise Act will commence automatically, whereas other provisions will require regulations. Under the Act, secondary legislation will be required in a number of areas as part of wider implementation.
The Enterprise Bill was introduced to Parliament on 16 September 2015. The Bill started in the House of Lords and then passed through the House of Commons before Lords consideration of Commons amendments on 19 April 2016.