With the new government now in session, Javid journeyed to Bristol with fellow new minister Anna Soubry, who has a particular small business agenda, so he could commit to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill and outline the approach the new administration will take.
The Small Business Conciliation Service is designed to help resolve disputes between small and large companies, particularly when it comes to late payment. With official figures showing some £32bn is owed to small firms by larger counterparts, the new service will add to the framework already in place.
Javid, who gained experience in the business world by serving as senior MD with Deutsche Bank AG and began his career with Chase Manhattan Bank NA in New York in 1991, was brought up in Bristol. Speaking to an audience at the Engine Shed business centre, he declared the Small Business Bill will help to make the UK the best place to start and grow a company in Europe.
Furthermore, it will, he said, create two million more jobs in the coming five years, as well as extending and simplifying Primary Authority – a scheme allowing businesses to secure advice on regulation from a single local council.
“Small businesses are Britain’s engine room and the success of our whole economy is built on the hard work and determination of the people who run and work for them. As business secretary I will always back them and, in my determination to get the job done, one of my first steps will be to bring forward an Enterprise Bill that helps them to succeed and create jobs,” he told his audience.
“As part of our long-term economic plan, we will sweep away burdensome red tape, get heavy-handed regulators off firms’ backs and create a Small Business Conciliation Service to help resolve disputes.”
In the Queen’s speech on 27 May, the monarch is widely expected to provide more details on prime minister David Cameron’s plans to increase devolution to Wales and, in particular, Scotland. While Javid’s commitment to the Small Business Bill, developed by the last coalition government, and outlining of new services gave some evidence of what the Queen will also say, further information on other business initiatives has not been revealed.
Javid and his business colleagues will aim to cut red tape by “at least” £10bn, targeting independent regulators for the first time – with the EU Commission set to unveil its plans in this space.
John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said of Javid’s comments: “It is great to see the government start the parliament with a real drive to support businesses. If properly targeted – these efforts to cut red tape for business could make a real difference – saving time and money.
“On late payments the government does have a role to play in helping to alleviate both the cause and effect. But in order to change the culture of late payment we need to see a concerted effort from businesses themselves.
“Businesses have been let down by successive governments promising to make inroads, so we will be watching carefully to make sure these proposals are delivered.”
Joining Javid in Bristol was new minister for small business Anna Soubry. Soubry’s new responsibilities will include business sectors and advanced manufacturing, competitiveness and economic growth, export licensing, the Royal Mail and the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill, among other duties. She will also be overseeing the proposed extension to the British Business Bank.
“This will be a no nonsense bill to back small businesses and help create jobs, giving financial security and economic peace of mind to hardworking people across the country,” Soubry explained at the Engine Shed.
“We will be asking businesses for evidence in the coming weeks and months. We want them to be our partners in identifying and scrapping needless burdens at home and in Europe. It’s important government gets behind small businesses – enabling them to get finance, get paid on time and get rid of red tape.”
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