Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill published

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Measures include:

* Improving the employment tribunal system;
* Setting up the new Competition and Markets Authority;
* Setting the purpose of the UK Green Investment Bank; and
* Giving shareholder binding votes on directors’ pay.

Business Secretary, Vince Cable today presented the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill to Parliament. The Bill is a central element in the Government’s aim for strong, sustainable and balanced growth, powered by investment, exports, technology and enterprise.

Government has already taken action on issues including tax, regulation and planning to support British businesses and promote economic growth, but Ministers are determined to do more.

Business Secretary Vince Cable (pictured) said:

“Growing our economy out of a period of acute crisis is the most pressing issue for this Government. We want to make sure the right conditions are in place to encourage investment and exports, boost enterprise, support green growth and build a responsible business culture.

“The measures in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will help make Britain one of the most enterprise-friendly countries in the world. It will improve our employment tribunals, reform and strengthen competition enforcement, scrap unnecessary red tape and help ensure that people who work hard and do the right thing are rewarded.”

Subject to the will of Parliament, the Bill will deliver legislation aimed at encouraging long term growth by:

  • Improving the employment tribunal system by encouraging parties to come together to settle their dispute before an employment tribunal claim is lodged, through Acas early conciliation and greater use of Settlement Agreements. It will also make the determination of less complex disputes quicker and cheaper for employers and employees alike, through a new ‘Rapid Resolution’ scheme. Taking away the fear of employment tribunals will give business more confidence to take on new staff.
  • Establishing a new Competition and Markets Authority, bringing together the competition functions of the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission. This will be the principal competition authority with a remit to tackle anti-competitive behaviour and ensure dynamic and open markets. Competition processes will be faster, with clearer timeframes bringing greater certainty and reduced burdens on business.
  • Setting the purpose of the UK Green Investment Bank in legislation, embedding its operational independence and providing Government with a specific power to finance it, with initial funding of £3 billion to March 2015. These measures will help the Bank to accelerate long-term private sector investment in the UK’s transition to a green economy.
  • Addressing the disconnect between directors’ pay and long-term company performance by giving shareholders of UK quoted companies binding votes on directors’ remuneration. This will encourage shareholders to be more engaged and companies to listen to what they say.
  • Deterring the importation and sale of unauthorised replicas of classic designs which qualify for copyright protection and extending copyright protection for mass-produced artistic works to life of the creator plus 70 years. These measures will promote innovation in the design industry and encourage investment in new products, while discouraging unauthorised copies.

The Bill will simplify regulation by:

  • Reducing inspection burdens on businesses of all sizes and increasing SME access to reliable, consistent advice on complying with regulations in areas such as trading standards, health and safety and environmental health.
  • Ensuring powers to put a time-limit on new regulations via ‘sunset clauses’. Departments should make a case to keep regulation – otherwise it will be scrapped.
  • Repealing some unnecessary regulations, e.g. improving the operation of heritage consent regimes without reducing necessary protections.

This important new Bill will cut the costs of doing business in Britain and remove regulatory burdens that currently inhibit innovation. It will boost consumer and business confidence and help the private sector create jobs.

The Bill now begins its passage through both Houses of Parliament.

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