The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act (SBEEA) 2015 has been introduced to help small business boom in the UK. The future of the UK economy is dependent on the start-up and survival of business and the act introduced in June 2015 and granted royal Assent on 26th March 2015, should help small businesses develop and compete on a level playing field. The act aims to improve access to finance, reduce regulation and red tape and enable businesses to tender for and win contracts.
Small businesses are advised to review the act in order to understand any implications for their own business, whether that might be reporting differently or taking advantage of the opportunities the act makes available. Here is an overview of the main points –
More routes to finance
The act aims to help SME’s access finance by increasing the quantity of sources, giving businesses more options when deciding how to fund their business growth. Banks will also report on the number of businesses they refuse loans to and are tasked to help business achieve their goals by proactively passing on business details to alternative leaders (with the permission of the business owner).
In addition, the new cheque imaging service will help businesses access their funds by streamlining the cheque clearing process enabling businesses to access their capital quicker.
Review of regulation
Cutting the red tape that makes small business operation difficult is also targeted. In order to make entrepreneurship easier, there will be regular reviews of processes and a promise to cut out any processes that make profitable business prohibitive for SME’s.
Access to the public sector
Opening up the tender process for public sector contracts to SME’s, by removing barriers to make it easier to compete on a level playing field. Provisions include a reporting process where restrictive measures can be highlighted, in order for these to be reviewed to ensure they are effective otherwise they are eliminated.
The Pubs Code Adjudicator and the Pubs Code
SME’s tied into large pub chains are to receive support, which will make the balance of power more equal and enable sole trader landlords to grow their business profitability.
Changes here include the reduction of paperwork for child care providers making it easier to accept children under the age of 3, register multiple addresses and sharing of information between departments such as HRMS and DWP so that entitlement to funding can be established easier.
Tracking students in to employment
Students leaving education to enter the labour market will be tracked, in order to show schools ability to prepare students for working life.
Increasing transparency in business ownership is set to combat instances of illegal or cohesive practices that make true competition difficult. Businesses will be required to declare all persons with significant control over it. Significant control is to be defined, however a general consensus would be anybody with over25% stake in the running of the business.
Reducing complexities when filing company accounts
Complex procedures for filling company accounts are to be removed, reducing the paper work in order for business managers to make more time to focus on their core business.
Courts can take a broader view on actions that may lead to disqualification as a company director. The provision will allow courts to consider actions from other countries, and will make it quicker and easier to disqualify individuals from directorships in the future.
The act will make the process of becoming insolvent much clearer and easier for those that need. A professional body for insolvency practitioners including regulations for them to adhere to are also being introduced.
Banning exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts will allow workers the flexibility to work with a number of different employers in situations where their hours are not guaranteed. Rather than outlawing zero hour contracts, this provision is set to make them fair for those providers and workers who benefit from the flexibility they offer.
Avoidance of paying the national minimum wage will be costly, as the penalty for not paying this minimum will be calculated on a per employee basis, therefore significantly increasing the financial risk if caught.
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