New BIS Secretary outlines ambitious enterprise bill

Posted on 19 May 2015 by Jonny Williamson

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Sajid Javid is to announce that as part of its long-term economic plan, the Government will cut red tape for business by at least £10bn over the next five years in a new Enterprise Bill that will back business to create jobs.

New measures to support entrepreneurs and job creation will be set out today in Sajid Javid’s first speech as Business Secretary in Bristol, the city where he grew up above his parents’ shop.

Speaking at the Engine Shed business centre, Javid will say that the Bill will help make Britain the best place in Europe to start and grow a business, and help create 2m more jobs over the next five years, so that more people have the security of a regular paypacket.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid commented: “Small businesses are Britain’s engine room and the success of our whole economy is built on the hard work and determination of the people who run and work for them.

“As Business Secretary I will always back them and, in my determination to get the job done, one of my first steps will be to bring forward an Enterprise Bill that helps them to succeed and create jobs.

“As part of our long-term economic plan, we will sweep away burdensome red tape, get heavy handed regulators off firms’ backs and create a Small Business Conciliation Service to help resolve disputes.”

Business Minister Anna Soubry said: “This will be a no nonsense Bill to back small businesses and help create jobs, giving financial security and economic peace of mind to hardworking people across the country.

“We will be asking businesses for evidence in the coming weeks and months. We want them to be our partners in identifying and scrapping needless burdens at home and in Europe. It’s important Government gets behind small businesses – enabling them to get finance, get paid on time and get rid of red tape.”

In a radical change, the Government’s ambitious target for cutting red tape will look beyond Whitehall and extend to independent regulators for the first time. They will be expected to contribute to a target of at least £10bn.

Another central measure in the Enterprise Bill will be the creation of a Small Business Conciliation Service to help settle disputes between small and large businesses, especially over late payment practices.

Small firms are owed more than £32bn in late payments, but many of them are not aware of their rights or are reluctant to launch legal challenges. This service will build on the existing suite of measures to tackle poor payment practices.

The Bill will also support businesses through the extension and simplification of Primary Authority. This scheme allows a business to get advice on regulation from a single local council and this advice must then be respected by all other councils – reducing the time and cost to businesses of having to obey different rules.

The Government is also expecting the European Commission to announce today proposals to cut red tape in Europe. This follows recommendations for reform from a UK business-led taskforce set up by the Prime Minister that the Government has lobbied hard for.

Measures being pushed for include a commitment to propose lighter regimes for small businesses in new EU legislation, greater independence for the Commission’s Regulatory Scrutiny Board, and improved consultation and impact assessments.

Tim Thomas, head of employment and skills at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation
Tim Thomas, head of Employment Policy, EEF.

Commenting on the Business Secretary’s announcement, head of Employment Policy at EEF, Tim Thomas noted: “Time spent on red-tape is frequently a drag on manufacturers’ business and a direct cost they don’t need.

Today’s speech will be welcomed by companies who will want to see a more ambitious approach to better regulation, backed up by businesses pinpointing the red tape that Governments needs to focus on now.  All regulators, and all parts of government, need to share responsibility for delivering the £10bn of cuts pledged, with any new regulation being presumed to be the last, not first, resort.”