The proposals to free up business include:
- removing automatic liability on business for civil damages in health and safety cases, when they are not found negligent;
- exempting certain types of intermediary companies from the Estate Agents Act, to encourage new businesses to flourish;
- simplifying entry procedures into bankruptcy by removing the court process when it is not needed, saving individuals, Government and businesses time and money; and
- protecting individuals, by providing guidance and a legal defence, from committing the criminal cartel offence.
Business Minister, Jo Swinson, said:
“Clearing away barriers to help businesses grow and invest is an essential part of the Government’s plan for growth.
“The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will help strengthen the business environment and boost confidence, by sweeping away needless bureaucracy and out-of-date rules.”
Today’s package of amendments also contain reforms to planning consents for listed buildings, making the process more straightforward, and to equalities measures, including removing employer liability for third party harassment.
The amendments are published ahead of the Bill’s report stage and third reading in the House of Commons, taking place on 16 and 17 October.
The Bill concluded its Committee stages just before summer recess. Once it has completed Report stage and third reading it will transfer to the House of Lords.
Subject to Parliamentary approval, the Bill will introduce a significant range of measures that will help support growth, including overhauling the employment tribunal system, improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the competition regime and reducing the burden of regulation on businesses through the Primary Authority scheme.
Notes for Editors
1. The measures published today will predominantly form part of Section 5 of the Bill, which deals with the reduction of legislative burdens. Details on all of the amendments can be found here: http://discuss.bis.gov.uk/enterprise-bill/
2. The text of the amendments will be made available later in October here: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2012-13/enterpriseandregulatoryreform.html
3.Among the amendments published today is a measure to enable individuals wishing to apply for their own bankruptcy to do so directly to a new Adjudicator rather than through the court. This will free up court resources, allowing judicial time to be focused on resolving disputes. The new process will be cheaper to administer than the current system, and will make it clear that bankruptcy is not a decision to be taken lightly. The measure follows a Government consultation last year which looked at proposals to remove both debtor and creditor petitions for bankruptcy, and most company winding-up petitions, from the courts. There was little support for reform to the creditor bankruptcy or company petition process.
4. The amendment on the criminal cartel offence was developed following an Opposition amendment raised during the Committee stage of the Bill.
5. A number of the repeal amendments published today were prompted by the Government’s Red Tape Challenge. The Red Tape Challenge was launched by the Prime Minister in April 2011 and is systematically examining some 6,500 substantive regulations that the Government inherited with the aim of scrapping or significantly reducing as many of them as possible. It gives business and the public the chance to have their say, by theme, on the regulations that affect their everyday lives. It has also asked the public what red tape holds back Disruptive Business Models and Civil Society Organisations. The Government announced on 10 September 2012 that at least 3,000 of the regulations examined will be scrapped or reduced. More information on Red Tape Challenge is at www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk
6. BIS's online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See http://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom for more information.