New legislation to create the right conditions for UK business growth


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  • 13 February 2013 – government amendments

The government laid several amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. This includes:

Part 1 – UK Green Investment Bank – on the definition of ‘green’ purpose.
Part 2 – Employment – amendments to the financial penalties rules (clause 14) in light of concerns regarding insolvent employers and the effect of the £100 floor in large multiple cases; amending the “good faith test” for protected disclosures (clause 15) and, an amendment in line with the European Court of Human Rights’ decision in the case of Redfearn v UK.
Part 4 – Competition Reform, concurrency arrangements (clause 46) to introduce a reserve power for the Secretary of State to remove concurrent powers from sector regulators in future.

Read the explanatory material: Employment


  • 10 January 2013 – Midata

The government laid an amendment in the ERR Bill which will create a power to give customers electronic access to details of their transactions created when buying goods and services. This information will enable the customer to undertake a more informed and better decision making process whilst seeking goods and services on future purchasing. Existing legislation, the Data Protection Act 1998, only gives customers access to their data in a format determined by the provider e.g. hard copy. The amendment will enable government to change this and will provide easier access for the customer to use this information to compare prices.

Read the explanatory material


  • 19 December 2012 – Civil liability for breach of health and safety duties

The government laid an amendment today which will remove the new section 47(2B) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and any references to it, that has been inserted in clause 61 of the Bill. This was based on the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee recommendation (Report published 15 November 2012). This means the power enabling the Secretary of State to make regulations to change the extent to which ‘other health and safety legislation’ is actionable in civil law is removed from the clausee.

  • 19 December 2012 – Abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board

The government laid an amendment in the ERR Bill which will effectively abolish the Agricultural Wages Board (AWB) for England and Wales and the 15 Agricultural Wages Committees and 16 Agricultural Dwelling House Advisory Committees in England. It will repeal relevant sections of the Agricultural Wages Act 1948 and other necessary legislation and make  amendments to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Act 1998 to ensure that agricultural workers in England and Wales are protected by the NMW. The Agricultural Wages Act 1948 established the AWB for England and Wales, and regional Agricultural Wages Committees. The regional Agricultural Dwelling House Advisory Committees were established by the Rent (Agriculture) 1976.

Read the explanatory material


  • 6 December 2012 – Competition: concurrency

The provisions in clause 45 and Schedule 14 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will address concerns about concurrency by giving the new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) stronger powers to coordinate competition work. They will also give the regulators more explicit duties to consider using their general competition powers instead of sector-specific powers. The government tabled a new clause which will introduce a reserve power for the Secretary of State to remove concurrent powers from sector regulators in future. (Updated 8 January 2013.)

Read the explanatory material

  • 29 November 2012 – Employment whistle blowing

The government laid an amendment in the ERR Bill which will affect the Public Interest Disclosure Act provisions in the Employment Rights Act 1996. It will essentially ensure that the right people, in particularly certain workers on NHS contractual arrangements, are covered by whistleblowing protection at all times.

Read the explanatory material

  • 28 November 2012 – Lord Currie sets out vision for new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

Lord David Currie, Chair Designate for the CMA, sets out why the creation of a new Competition and Markets Authority is an opportunity for a vibrant new organisation with a fresh, dynamic culture, and ensure the UK retains its world-leading competition regime.

Read the press notice in full.

  • 9 October 2012- New amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill published

Latest package of measures announced to help cut unnecessary red tape and take steps towards creating the right conditions for businesses growth have been proposed for the ERR Bill. These include:

  • removing automatic liability on business for civil damages in health and safety cases, when they are not found negligent;
  • exempting 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 defense, from committing the criminal cartel offence.

Read the press notice in full.

You can download further information detailing in full the proposed amendments:

  1. Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill: short summary of government amendments proposed to be tabled in the House of Commons
  2. Report stage of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill – proposed amendments
  3. Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill: explanatory material
  4. Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill:Supplementary notes explaining new clauses
  • 17 July 2012 – Lord Currie appointed as Chair of the New Competition and Markets Authority

Vince Cable announces David Currie as the first Chair of the CMA. He will lead the organisational design of the new body and work closely with government, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Competition Commission (CC) to ensure a smooth and effective transition.

  • 2 July 2012 – Modernising copyright to help strengthen growth

New clauses to be included in the Bill to update the UK’s copyright licensing system. These new measures will:

  • allow the creation of a future ‘orphan works’ scheme to open access to valuable material that currently can’t be licensed or used
  • put in place a voluntary regime for extending collective licensing to help reduce complexities in the system
  • reserve a power to introduce statutory codes of conduct for collecting societies if they fail to operate to minimum standards.

Explanatory material on the copyright amendments


  • 27 June 2012 – Directors’ pay

On the 27th June the government tabled amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill on directors’ remuneration.

The amendments follow on from Business Secretary Vince Cable’s announcement on the 20th June. This set out a comprehensive package of reforms to improve the governance framework for directors’ remuneration.

Read the explanatory material on Directors’ remuneration.

Measures include:

  • A binding vote on pay policy, requiring the support of a majority of shareholders voting to pass. The policy should clearly set out how pay supports the strategic objectives of the company.
  • The binding vote will be held annually unless companies choose to leave their remuneration policy unchanged, in which case it will be compulsory at least every three years. For the first time, once a policy is approved companies will not be able to make payments outside its scope. If a company chooses to change its pay policy, it will have to put it before shareholders for re-approval. Importantly, this will encourage companies to devise long-term policies and put a brake on annual pay ratcheting;
  • As part of their pay policy, companies will have to clearly explain their approach to exit payments, which will also be subject to the binding vote. When a director leaves, the company will have to promptly publish a statement of payments the director has received. Companies will not be able to pay exiting directors more than shareholders have agreed;
  • Alongside the binding vote on policy, shareholders will continue to have an annual advisory vote on how pay policy was implemented in the previous year, including actual sums paid to directors. If a company fails the advisory vote it will be required to put its overall pay policy back to shareholders in a binding vote the following year;

The amendments put forward by the government can be viewed here.

More information about the government’s policy on directors’ remuneration can be found in this helpful guide.

This clause aims to make it easier for employers and employees to propose and agree settlement as a means of ending an employment relationship, particularly in the absence of an existing dispute.

The clause will make an offer of settlement and any discussions made in relation to the offer inadmissible as evidence in employment tribunal considerations of claims of unfair dismissal.

Explanatory material: Employment



  • 23 May 2012 – Primary Authority set to open up to thousands more.

The Bill contains a commitment to extending the Primary Authority scheme. Many thousands more businesses – including those in franchises and trade associations – are set to become eligible for the scheme.

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