SMEs To Benefit From Proposed Legal Reforms

Business Minister Jo Swinson Wants To Cut Red Tape

08.10.2013

David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

Business minister Jo Swinson believes new legal proposals will help to make life easier for 3.2 million companies in the UK.

A consultation has been launched into potential reforms that will reduce the amount of information firms have to submit to the government. The review will close on November 22nd 2013.

One of the key stipulations is the removal of the legal requirement for businesses to submit an annual return. This covers details such as company name, location, type of organisation, as well as information about shareholders.

Instead of resubmitting the records every year, firms will be able to confirm that the data held by Companies House is still correct, saving them lots of time and effort. It could have positive financial implications too, as many businesses pay a third-party organisation to file this information.

Ms Swinson believes the reforms - should they be approved - will benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular.

"Cutting unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape for businesses will help build a stronger economy," she remarked.

"It is only right that as well as doing this we also make sure that the information available on a company is accurate and transparent."

Dr Roger Barker, director of corporate governance and professional standards at the Institute of Directors, said it is important that Companies House has up to date records on all businesses trading in the UK, but this should not put undue strain on SMEs.

The government has made no secret of its plans to introduce measures that allow more startup businesses to grow.

Prime minister David Cameron recently pledged his support for the UK's first Small Business Saturday, which will take place on December 7th 2013. It is aimed at celebrating the work done by SMEs and raising awareness of the vital role they play in the economy.

Mr Cameron described SMEs as the "lifeblood of our economy" and said he was "delighted" to sign the Small Business Saturday UK wall, alongside small business ambassador Karren Brady and skills minister Matthew Hancock.

Expert Opinion
It’s is good to see that the Government recognises that SMEs have too much red tape to deal with and that much of it can stifle economic growth and the ability of these businesses to generate jobs and support the wider economy. This is a good opportunity for smaller businesses to have their voice heard, but it is also an excellent opportunity for the Government to listen.

“Many SMEs will welcome this news but will be watching keenly to ensure these words are converted into real action.”
Steven Beahan, Partner