Small businesses

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on small businesses. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

27.01.2016Late Payment of debts
This note provides a history of the UK's legislation and other initiatives on late payment of debts.
27.01.2016Enterprise Bill [HL] 2015-16
This briefing provides an overview of the Enterprise Bill [HL] 2015-16
23.12.2015New Enterprise Allowance
The New Enterprise Allowance is a government scheme designed to help unemployed people who want to start their own business.
07.12.2015Business statistics
Businesses since 2000, small businesses, business by region, businesses by industry, business births and deaths and information on female representation in business. It also features some discussion of the sources of business statistics and their coverage.
10.11.2015Policy on small firms 1997-2015
This Paper describes policy initiatives between 1997 and 2015 designed to meet the needs of small firms. It outlines their original purpose and what happened to them.
15.10.2015Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) describes a range of methods (such as mediation and arbitration) designed to avoid the need to go to court to enforce legal rights. Usually these methods are a cheaper and quicker route for resolving a dispute. The EU Directive on Consumer ADR and an EU Regulation on Consumer Online Dispute Resolution were published in July 2013. The requirements of the Directive were implemented into UK law by the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015.This briefing Paper outlines the background to, and the main provisions of, the new ADR Regulations 2015. Like the Regulations, this Paper is only concerned with consumer ADR (i.e. a dispute between a trader and a consumer).
03.07.2015Public procurement
One third of public sector spending is on procurement of goods and services. This briefing looks at the rules for public procurement, at government priorities and at how well public contracts are being managed and delivered.
09.12.2014Small businesses and the UK economy
This note presents a statistical analysis of small businesses in the UK, the role of small businesses in international trade, small businesses and GDP, small businesses and tax receipts and information on government policy towards small businesses.
17.11.2014Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill: Committee stage report
This is a report on the House of Commons Committee stage of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill.
04.09.2014Business support schemes - statistics
Statistics on take up and cost of Government schemes that support businesses and SMEs

Lords Library Notes

20.01.2016Work of the Ad Hoc Committees in 2013-14
This House of Lords Library briefing provides an overview of the work of the five ad hoc Lords Select Committees which reported in the 2013-14 session.
12.10.2015Availability and Quality of Apprenticeships, and the Spread of Apprenticeships across the Labour Market
This Library Note provides statistical information on apprenticeships, based on the most recent figures published by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). It then focusses on four key areas of recent government policy development in relation to apprenticeships: the announcement of a government target of three million new apprenticeships by the end of March 2020; the development of new apprenticeship standards
07.10.2015Enterprise Bill (HL Bill 63 of 2015-16)
This Library Note has been prepared to provide briefing material ahead of the Enterprise Bill's second reading in the House of Lords on 12 October 2015.
28.11.2014Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill (HL Bill 57 of session 2014-15)
This Library Note provides background reading ahead of the Bill's second reading in the House of Lords on 2 December 2014.
26.06.2014Consumer Rights Bill (HL Bill 29 of 2014-15)
The Consumer Rights Bill makes provision for the reform of consumer law in the UK and connected areas of law. This Note summarises the Bill's report stage and third reading in the House of Commons.
30.04.2014Debate on 6 May: Actions Taken Following the Publication in 2013 of the Report of the Select Committee on Small and Medium Sized Enterprises
This Library Note examines what developments have occurred since the Government's response to the report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Small and Medium Sized Enterprises was published in May 2013.


29.05.2015UK Broadband Infrastructure
The growing use of smart phones and data intensive services (such as video streaming), has increased demand for both fixed and mobile internet. This POSTnote looks at patterns in broadband access and use, and the technical and policy challenges of enhancing UK broadband infrastructure to meet future needs.
15.07.2014Big Data and Business
POSTnote exploring how big data is being used by UK companies and the challenges and opportunities it presents.

Select Committee Reports

15.02.2011The new local enterprise partnerships.
Government response. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee report [Commons]
19.11.2010The new local enterprise partnerships.
Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee report [Commons]
30.03.2010Market Failure?
Communities and Local Government Select Committee report [Commons]
01.03.2010The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Venture capital support to small businesses.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
12.10.2009Market failure?: can the traditional market survive? Government response to the Communities and Local...
Government response. Communities and Local Government report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House remains concerned at the high level of unemployment, currently at 2.5 million; notes research from the Federation of Small Businesses which shows that 44 per cent. of ...
That this House recognises that the Government has hailed exporting as a potential driver for economic growth; further recognises that exporting offers huge potential for small businesses ...
That this House expresses concern at recent findings from the Federation of Small Businesses that show around 84 per cent. of small businesses are not approaching the banks for credit ...
That this House recognises that small businesses are not just part of the local community, but are the local community; further recognises that the UK economy is driven by small businesses; ...
That this House recognises that the UK's tourism industry contributed over 115 billion to the UK economy in 2009; notes that the Federation of Small Businesses has recently released ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses