A range of measures aimed at supporting the UK’s small business sector have become law as the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act gained royal assent.
The act is designed to help businesses access finance, although it also contains measures to combat late payment and halt ‘exclusivity clauses’ in zero hours contracts.
The government hopes the act will also encourage small businesses innovate, grow and boost employment, as well as creating an environment that makes it easier to start and grow a business.
Measures in the Small Business Act include:
- improving access to finance through increasing investment sources, increased business loans and online resources to help match business to suitable finance providers
- introducing new reporting requirements on the large companies to increase transparency on payment practices
- initiating frequent reviews of business regulations to ensure firms are not hampered by excessive red tape
- ending the practice of including ‘exclusivity clauses’ in zero hours contracts which stop individuals from working for more than one employer.
Commenting on the act, Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“The Small Business Act will create the right environment for small businesses to continue to thrive by giving them greater access to finance to help them innovate and grow, and make it easier for them to export goods and services made in Britain.”
John Allan, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:
“For the first time, an important piece of legislation has been devoted to small businesses. This underlines the huge economic contribution small firms make to the UK economy and recognises their distinct needs.”