enterprise bill

Government "can do more" to help pubs - despite saving businesses £25m

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

Government "can do more" to help pubs - despite saving businesses £25m

Related tags: Business rates, Red tape, Small business, Business

The industry has welcomed an assessment of the Enterprise Bill - which claims it will save businesses £25m a year in total – but some insist “more can be done” to help reduce costs for pubs.

Proposals seek to simplify processes by reducing red tape – while offering ‘Primary Authority’ services to businesses to ensure regulatory consistency and a common approach to compliance.

This aims to particularly benefit small, independently-run businesses such as pubs.

The Primary Authority allows pubs to choose a single local authority as their regulatory point of contact for legislation.

Consistency

British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds said licensees will “really start to see the benefits” of the legislation.

“Often, red tape is not so much about actual regulations, but behaviour; Primary Authority is a very good example of a way to achieve national consistency, when so often regulations are open to very differing local interpretation,” she said. 

The BBPA is engaging with Government on wider issues with red tape, and has put forward proposals for deregulation around newspaper advertising for premises licences, reducing the burdens on pubs with Category C and D gaming machines, and changes to the beer duty regime.

“It is often small changes to specific legislation that really help reduce costs for businesses,” Simmonds added.

More can be done

The Association for Licenced Multiple Retailers welcomes measures intending to cut red tape, but said “much more can be done” to cut cost for businesses.

ALMR wants economic growth to be considered in decision making for licensing and planning.

The ALMR has also repeatedly called for more frequent business rates valuations linked to annualised CPI.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This will ensure a much more responsive system and will begin to address to massive disparity that pubs and bars currently face.”

Three million apprentices

Government has set a target of three million apprentices in this Parliament, and to ensure all apprentices are on statutory, transparent schemes. The legislation ensures it is an offence to offer an apprenticeship if it is not a statutory scheme.

“Steps to ensure a safeguarding of the quality of apprenticeships is welcome and should help make such options more attractive to both employers and employees,” Nicholls said.

“However, if the Government is serious about meeting its target of 3million new apprentices, fully funded apprenticeships for 19-24 year olds and additional funding for over 25s will have a much greater impact in attracting and retaining high quality apprentices.”

Further details of the Enterprise Bill are listed below.

Regarding business rates, the Bill contains measures to:

• Benefit businesses by making the system more transparent and easier to navigate;

• Ensure that businesses can be confident that their valuations are correct and that they are paying the right amount of business rates; and

• Introduce a reformed appeals system built around three stages – ‘check, challenge, appeal’.

• Reduce the administrative burden in the business rates system by creating an information gateway between the Valuation Office Agency, local government and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, which will allow for the legal and safe transfer of business rates information; and

• Make sure ratepayers no longer have to give largely the same information to local government as they do to the Valuation Office Agency.

Regarding small businesses, the Bill contains measures to:

• Establish a statutory small business commissioner to empower small businesses to resolve disputes and avoid future issues through general advice and information;

• Enable the small business commissioner to handle complaints by small business suppliers about payment matters arising with larger businesses which they supply;

• Help small businesses to take action to deal with disputes more quickly and cheaply than going to court; and

• Promote culture change on late payments.

Regarding Apprentices, the Bill contains measures to:

• Help meet the Government’s commitment to deliver three million apprenticeships within this Parliament.

• Create an offence for a person, in the course of business, to provide or offer a course or training as an apprenticeship if it is not a statutory apprenticeship;

• Strengthen and protect the reputation of the apprenticeship brand for training providers, employers and apprentices;

• Protect the reputation of training providers, employers who offer statutory apprenticeships and apprentices who join those apprenticeships, by maintaining their standards and ensuring that statutory apprenticeships are not confused with lower quality training;

• Ensure a “level playing field” and fairness in the market to the benefit of training providers, employers and individuals

Related topics: Legislation

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