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June 27, 2014 - Rachel Miller

Small business bill offers new support for SMEs

Small business bill offers new support for SMEsThe Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill has been introduced to Parliament this week. It promises to remove barriers to growth for small firms.

The bill is part of the government's commitment to help make the UK the most attractive place to start, finance and grow a business. Key measures outlined in the bill include:

  • better access to finance by increasing sources of investment for small firms;
  • opening up access to small business credit data, to make it easier for a small firm to seek a loan from a lender other than their bank;
  • new cheque imaging to speed up clearing from six days to two;
  • less red tape and regular reviews and targets to reduce the regulatory burden;
  • improving companies' payment practices to tackle late payment;
  • increasing the support for SME exporters from UK Export Finance;
  • a new pubs code and adjudicator.

Business secretary Vince Cable said: "The government is working hard to improve the environment for small businesses. Better access to finance for SMEs, measures to boost trust and transparency in British business and increasing fairness in the workplace are key issues that this bill aims to address."

Skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock said: "Every village, town and city throughout the country is host to a range of small businesses, from shops, garages and cafés to manufacturing firms and tech start-ups. This bill is part of the government's commitment to back enterprise and help firms to start up and scale up."

John Allan, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said: "This landmark bill is welcomed by our members. It includes measures that we have pushed for over the last 12 months – such as action on late payment terms for smaller suppliers and to beef up scrutiny of unnecessary regulation."

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