Boost for firms as Small Business Act becomes law

April 16, 2015   //   No Comments

Measures became law on 26th March 2015 to help level the playing field between large and small companies.

The wide-ranging Act paves the way for businesses to get improved access to finance and puts an end to zero hours exclusivity clauses.  With more than 5 million businesses in the UK, the Act will open up new opportunities for small firms to innovate, grow and create jobs.

Measures under the Act will help small businesses by:

  • improving access to finance through increasing the availability and sources of investment for small businesses, so that they can secure the funding they need to grow
  • increasing transparency on payment practices and policies through a tough new reporting requirement on the UK’s largest companies. Increased transparency will help address the current economic imbalance in power between small and large companies – it will provide small firms with the information they need to negotiate fairer deals, and it will shine a light on poor practice
  • cutting down on red-tape by ensuring that regulations affecting business are reviewed frequently and remain effective. Unnecessary regulation gets in the way of doing business, so the government is introducing a target for the removal of regulatory burdens to be published in each parliamentary term, holding future Governments to account and enabling small firms to grow and get on with doing business
  • appointing an independent Small Business Appeals Champion for non-economic regulators to ensure that the needs of business – particularly small firms – are taken into account with an understandable and effective appeals and complaints process
  • streamlining public procurement to remove barriers so that small businesses can gain better, more direct access to public sector contracts. Further measures will make it easier to raise concerns about poor procurement practices, ensuring these are small business friendlyOther measures that come into law today include:
  • stopping abuse of zero hours contracts by preventing ‘exclusivity clauses’ which stop individuals from working for another employer, even if the current employer is offering no work
  • deterring employers from breaking National Minimum Wage legislation by amending the power to set the maximum penalty for under payment, so it can be calculated on a per worker basis

Full details may be read here.