The government has announced a raft of new proposals in the Queen's Speech aimed at helping small businesses, but unfortunately there's no new money on the table.
The Queen's Speech today focused mainly on the economy and reducing the deficit, however there were some planned reforms and proposals to help small businesses directly.
The main small business proposal is the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill which will "create the right conditions for economic recovery" and "reduce regulatory burdens and improve business and consumer confidence".
The new bill also includes measures to remove "unnecessary legislation", helping businesses to save time and money, and measures to help employers hire new staff and resolve disputes in the workplace more quickly. The bill would also create a single Competition and Markets Authority by merging the Competition Commission and certain functions of the Office of Fair Trading.
However the Speech also outlined new measures to enable parents to share paternity and maternity leave, which could have a significant impact on small businesses.
Other initiatives included the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill, which is designed to ensure supermarkets deal "fairly and lawfully" with small business suppliers, and a Green Investment Bank aimed at providing investment to businesses to fund environmental initiatives.
Another proposal not aimed at businesses but that will indirectly help businesses was the Energy Bill, which is designed to boost investment in low carbon energy and help increase security of supply.
John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said:
"The test for this Queen's Speech is whether it will help businesses to grow. Two Bills stand out for me: energy and regulatory reform. The first should help, but the jury's out on the second."
Further commenting on the energy proposals, he said:
"Let's be clear, electricity market reform is about keeping the lights on. Business investment in low-carbon will only happen when the detailed market framework is in place. Today's announcements are an important stepping stone."
"We hear a lot about regulatory reform, but the big prize for businesses would be to major on the new power for 'sunset clauses' on regulation and regulators. Every new bit of regulation should be time-limited and then reviewed." Adding, "It is employment regulation where the shoe pinches for growing firms. We await the Government's bold reforms in this area."
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