Steve Martin, Head of the Fire and Security Association (FSA), has welcomed plans to cut red tape, support small businesses on late payment and protect apprenticeships, as outlined in the government’s Enterprise Bill. “Broadly speaking, the measures outlined in the Enterprise Bill confirm the government’s desire to pursue a policy that recognises and supports businesses who are at the heart of the UK’s economic growth,” he said.
He continued: “The creation of the Small Business Commissioner is welcome. Small businesses are, by nature, unwilling to take clients to court over payment issues as they fear the repercussions it could have for their ability to win work in the future. This service aims to provide a means for small businesses to resolve payment issues without resorting to the courts, and it’s a welcome addition to the armoury against poor payment. However, it is only part of the answer to supply chain payment problems and the most effective route is still to criminalise late payment and introduce tough business sanctions on for those who indulge in this practice.”
He added: “The government’s plans to protect the term ‘apprenticeship’ highlight their desire to continue to strengthen the term, build the apprenticeship brand and make sure that employers lead on apprenticeship content. This move is crucial at a time when apprenticeship funds are finite and when skilled engineering sectors, like ours, are in great need. It should ensure that public money is only spent on apprenticeships where an approved, structured training programme is in place.”
Steve also welcomed plans to cut red-tape, saying: “Red tape is a continual burden on many contractors and a significant waste of time and resources. I hope the government takes this further in future and outlines plans to cut ‘blue tape’- paperwork costs ranged on business by other businesses – as this also greatly impedes productivity, growth and profits. With fewer burdens imposed on them, business can be more innovative, which will help them – and the economy – grow in the future.”