The Small Business Act: A Big Royal Deal For UK Enterprise
With the lofty aim of making Britain the best place in the world to start a business, the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act has received Royal Assent. Now enshrined in law, the Act promises, amongst other features, vastly improved access to finance for start-ups and SMEs.
Neil Armitage Operations Director, Umbrella Accountancy Services, commented “In doing so the Act seeks to scratch an itch that has irritated many of Britain’s budding entrepreneurs: the banking and finance industries have recovered their solidity without stretching their books sufficiently to support Start-Up UK.
In particular, the Act will force a requirement on to the UK’s ten largest banks that will see them referring small companies to alternative finance sources if they are not successful with that bank. The Alternative Business Funding website (http://alternativebusinessfunding.co.uk/) which acts as a corollary for alternative funders, believes that upwards of £2billion could flood into the UK’s SME market as a result of the Act.
As well as addressing the structural issue of access to finance, the Act promises to challenge the issue of late payments that are so often the scourge of small businesses. A cheque imaging system has been developed to allow for a cutback in the time taken to clear cheques and as a way of increasing the payment options available to customers themselves.
Sole traders and contractors will also benefit directly from a legal categorisation that separates small and micro business, a distinction that will be signed into statutes defining the two entities. The Act also promises to create more opportunity for SMEs to involve themselves in public sector procurement, opening up a previously ‘closed’ shop, with the Secretary of State now wielding powers to enforce fairness and consistency in procurement at all levels.”
For many involved in the lobbying effort that created the landscape of the Small Business Act, enforcing the law was seen as a real priority post-election. New Business Secretary Sajid Javid chose a speech at a Bristol business centre to confirm that on May 27th, the much-anticipated bill would indeed be formally announced as part of the Queen’s Speech.