Members of the Lords, including several business leaders and a former employment minister, considered the main purpose and key principles of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill on Tuesday 2 December.
The wide-ranging bill received broad support, although several members expressed regret that it was not more ambitious. Peers also identified a number of issues to be considered as the bill makes its way through the Lords. These included:
- the need for a small business support strategy
- more opportunities for micro-businesses
- the question of regional variation and imbalance
- failures in the credit market, and the problems small businesses face in accessing finance
- the problem of late payments.
The bill now moves to committee stage, the chance for line by line scrutiny in the Lords. A date is yet to be scheduled.
Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill summary
The bill contains a number of measures including:
- improved access to finance for small businesses and reducing regulatory requirements
- further opening up public sector procurement
- the introduction of a pubs code and adjudicator
- enhanced transparency in company ownership
- stronger rules for the disqualification of directors
- reform of insolvency laws
- the introduction of a number of reforms to employment law, including banning exclusivity in zero-hours contracts.