By Claire West

A package of measures to help cut unnecessary red tape and take steps towards creating the right conditions for businesses to grow, were announced yesterday, as new amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill were published.
The proposals to free up business 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 defence, from committing the criminal cartel offence.
Business Minister, Jo Swinson, said:

“Clearing away barriers to help businesses grow and invest is an essential part of the Government’s plan for growth.
“The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will help strengthen the business environment and boost confidence, by sweeping away needless bureaucracy and out-of-date rules.”

Today’s package of amendments also contains reforms to planning consents for listed buildings, making the process more straight forward, and to equalities measures, including removing employer liability for third party harassment.

The amendments are published ahead of the Bill’s report stage and third reading in the House of Commons, taking place on 16 and 17 October.

The Bill concluded its Committee stages just before summer recess. Once it has completed Report stage and third reading it will transfer to the House of Lords.
Subject to Parliamentary approval, the Bill will introduce a significant range of measures that will help support growth, including overhauling the employment tribunal system, improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the competition regime and reducing the burden of regulation on businesses through the Primary Authority scheme.