News story

Making it easier for you to start and grow a business

Action on zero hours forms part of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill announced today (25 June 2014).

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Small Business illustration: iStock

Following on from our consultation into zero hours contracts, we are announcing:

  • a ban on the use of exclusivity clauses in all zero hours contracts; we will also consult further to prevent bad employers from circumventing the rules through simple avoidance techniques
  • we will work with business representatives and unions to develop a code of practice on the fair use of zero hours contracts
  • we will work with stakeholders to review existing guidance and improve information available to individuals and employers on using these contracts
Zero Hours infographic

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill is designed to reduce the barriers that can constrain the ability of small businesses to innovate, grow and compete. It paves the way for government to be more supportive of, and less burdensome to, small business in the UK.

The Bill covers a number of measures that include:

  • cutting down red tape, using new technologies to speed up banking processes
  • increase support from UK Export Finance to help small businesses gain export footholds
  • improvements in helping small firms with public procurement contracts - a market worth £230 billion
  • a Pubs Code and adjudicator will be introduced and steps to ensure employers pay a fair wage under the national minimum wage agreements
  • enhance the reputation of the UK as a trusted and fair place to do business by increasing transparency around who owns and controls UK companies
  • helping deter and sanction those who hide their interest in UK companies to facilitate illegal activities or who otherwise fall short of expected standards of behaviour

The Bill is designed to give small businesses the freedom to become the driving force of our economy. We want to ensure they have the right environment to start-up, scale up and thrive. This Bill will introduce a number of measures that will open up opportunities for new public sector contracts, ground-breaking innovation, and much-needed job creation so that small business can be the locus for long term sustainable growth.

Published 25 June 2014