Most owners of small businesses agree on the things that make doing business difficult, and it appears that the government is once again tackling red tape, making it easier for the private sector to grow. Signalling that the situation could be about to get easier (we’ll see), the Queen today revealed the government’s Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, due to be introduced over the next 12 months.
The Bill will include an overhaul of the employment tribunal system; improvements to the effectiveness of competition enforcement; reduction in inspection burdens on businesses; and will also repeal unnecessary legislation.
It all sounds quite utopian for the small business owner, but it’s definitely a bit unclear how it will be done: exactly how will the government go about ‘overhauling’ the employment tribunal system, for example? Alas the Queen didn’t spend time going through the points of the bill for us, that’s not really her job.
For farmers however, there was a more clear-cut bill offered up: the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill, which will seek to tackle the dominance of the largest supermarkets and make sure (by way of an independent adjudicator, hence the name) that smaller suppliers are treated fairly. Anonymous complaints will be investigated, the adjudicator will arbitrate disputes, and any retailers that break the rules could have sanctions imposed on them. Again, no specific details, but this could be a step in the right direction for smaller agricultural businesses.
Other pro-business activities from the government include cutting corporation tax to 24%, with an extra percentage point being shaved off each year until it hits 20%; the simplification of tax returns for small companies to be cash-based; and the rollout of superfast broadband to 90% of the UK. All pretty much as announced in the Budget.
Letting SMEs out of the straitjacket and fostering better competition for small businesses is exactly what is needed to get the private sector growing again. But critics have pointed to how there was relatively little in the speech in the way of promoting economic growth. We can only wait and see whether the legislation will be enough to make a real difference…or if it’s just more political fluff.
To see some of the speech, click here