Small Business Act: a boost for firms

Measures designed to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business have become law following Royal Assent for the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act.

The wide-ranging Act paves the way for businesses to get improved access to finance, creates fairer provision for tied pub tenants and puts an end to zero hours exclusivity clauses.

With more than five million businesses in the UK, the Act will open up new opportunities for small firms to innovate, grow and create jobs.

Measures under the Act will help small businesses by:

  • improving access to finance through increasing the availability and sources of investment for small businesses, so that they can secure the funding they need to grow
    • opening up access to small business credit data, levelling the playing field between providers and make it easier for a small business to seek a loan from a lender other than their bank
    • requiring banks to pass on details of small and mid-sized businesses they decline for a loan, with the firm’s permission, to online platforms which can help match them with alternative finance providers
    • introducing ‘cheque imaging’ to speed up cheque clearing times and increase customer choice in ways to pay
  • increasing transparency on payment practices and policies through a tough new reporting requirement on the UK’s largest companies. Increased transparency will help address the current economic imbalance in power between small and large companies – it will provide small companies with the information they need to negotiate fairer deals, and it will shine a light on poor practice
  • cutting down on red-tape by ensuring that regulations affecting business are reviewed frequently and remain effective. Unnecessary regulation gets in the way of doing business, so we are introducing a target for the removal of regulatory burdens to be published in each parliamentary term, holding future Governments to account and enabling small firms to grow and get on with doing business
  • assisting small business expansion overseas, increasing the support available from UK Export Finance and widening its powers to help UK exports and exporters, making it easier for all businesses, regardless of size, to expand in the international marketplace

To find out more about the Small Business Act, click here.