Small Business E&E Bill: What it means for you

moneyThis week the Queen announced to Parliament the “Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill“, which amongst other things strengthens the existing Prompt Payment Code setting out the right for small businesses to be paid in a timely manner as well as, access to finance, employment law, procurement.

One of the foundations of the bill is that it will require large companies to publish their payment terms so that those that fail to meet them can be held accountable. Enterprise Nation points to Fujitsu, who pay small businesses they deal with within 6 days of invoice and say there’s no reason other firms couldn’t pay within a similar time frame.

Other parts of the proposed bill which small businesses are likely to welcome are faster cheque clearance times (why do companies still use Cheques in these days of faster bank transfers? Is it just so that they can keep their hands on the funds a couple of days longer?), and prohibiting companies from stipulating in contracts that small businesses can’t use third party companies from collecting outstanding debts.

There are also steps to make obtaining finance easier, the government may act as guarantor for firms trading overseas who need financing and they may release anonymised VAT and Tax information on small businesses to lending institutions. Whilst anonymous data might seem less than useful, it might enlighten banks as to just how many small businesses out there would flourish if only they had access to capital, something that the likes of iwoca and Ezbob appear to have grasped, filling the finance void which banks have so far ignored.

Finally something that many small business owners will welcome, the bill also sets out to tackle large pub companies controlling rent increases and beer prices for smaller public establishments. Whilst I suspect many of our readers don’t lease pubs, I’m sure there are more than a few that like to raise a glass or two after a long day in the warehouse and more reasonable beer prices would be very welcome!

The bill will be published on the 16th of June and the aim is that it will be drafted into law before the General Election in 2015.