New Enterprise Bill published

22 September 2015

The Enterprise Bill includes:

Preventing misuse of the ‘Apprenticeship’ term

  • 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; and
  • give employers more confidence that they are investing in high quality apprenticeships.

Public Sector Employment: Restrictions on Exit Payments

  • stop six-figure pay outs to the best paid public sector workers by placing a limit on the value of exit payments individuals can receive (for example a cash lump sum or employer-funded contribution to early access to pension);
  • cap all types of payments related to exits, including voluntary and compulsory redundancy and severance payments. This will apply broadly across the public sector as defined by the list of public sector bodies set down by the Office of National Statistics (although some bodies may be exempted); and
  • enable a waiver to be made in exceptional circumstances subject to approval by the relevant Minister.

Small Business Commissioner

  • 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;
  • support the Government’s ambition to make the UK the best place to grow a business;
  • contribute to ensuring the business environment in the UK helps small businesses to thrive and grow, to help support the UK economy;
  • facilitate better understanding among small businesses of where to seek support when they have issues or disputes with other businesses;
  • 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.

A target for the number of apprentices in public sector bodies

  • increase the number of apprenticeships in the public sector;
  • provide a power for the Secretary of State to set targets for public sector bodies in relation to the number of apprentices they employ in England;
  • require the public bodies to have due regard to any targets set on them and to report annually on progress against meeting those targets;
  • increase the number of apprenticeships in the public sector; and
  • help meet the Government’s commitment to deliver 3 million apprenticeships within this Parliament.

The Enterprise Bill also contains measures to:

  • extend the Business Impact Target to include regulators;
  • support a positive shift in the way regulation is delivered by regulators through the Growth Duty and Regulators’ Code (“the Duties”);
  • simplify the Primary Authority scheme;
  • introduce a legal obligation for insurance claims to be paid within a reasonable timeframe;
  • allow the Valuation Office Agency to share business rates information about properties and ratepayers with local government;
  • reform the Business Rates Appeals system; and
  • update the Industrial Development Act 1982.

All publications relating to the Enterprise Bill can be accessed through GOV.UK.