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Government sets out plans to help small businesses in the Queen’s Speech

PUBLISHED: 18:19 04 June 2014

Business leaders have welcomed measures set out in the Queen's Speech to help small businesses

Business leaders have welcomed measures set out in the Queen's Speech to help small businesses

Moves to help smaller firms win public contracts and speed up payments from their customers were welcomed by industry groups.

The Government said a Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill was aimed at making the UK the most attractive place to grow a business.

Measures will include help for small businesses to access finance, improve payment with their customers and giving them fair access to the £230 billion spent every year on public procurement contracts.

Red tape affecting small business will also be reviewed frequently to make sure they are either cut or remained effective.

Transparency around who owns UK companies will be strengthened, with a register of ownership, while small businesses will be helped to expand overseas.

John Allan, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses said: “This landmark Bill will be welcomed by our members. It includes measures that we have pushed for in our discussions with government and all political parties over the last 12 months to help them support their growth ambitions, such as action on late payment terms for smaller suppliers and to beef up scrutiny of unnecessary regulation.

“We now look forward to seeing the detail when the Bill is introduced, and working with all parties in the Commons and Lords as the Bill progresses through Parliament before the election.

“The Bill marks the next stage in improving the operating environment for all small firms across the country.”

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said: “The programme sets out a number of pro-growth and pro-work policies. Government must now keep momentum going for the next 11 months and not stall just as the economy is beginning to motor.

“It is also essential that the legislation proposed does not load any extra burdens onto employers or remove their ability to recruit and employ in a flexible way to suit their business.”

The Bill includes measures to stop highly paid public sector employees keeping redundancy payments when they return quickly to a similar job.

John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Businesses across Britain will be relieved to see that the Government has opted for a streamlined legislative programme, meaning ministers can devote more time to delivering the best possible environment for economic growth and enterprise. Businesses hold governments accountable not for how many bills they pass, but for what they actually deliver.

“If the legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech means better infrastructure, a better environment for growing companies, and improved access to finance, then businesses will give ministers the credit they deserve. Action, not words and bills, is what matters for business.”

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