The government has published an Enterprise Bill designed to back business to drive growth, create more jobs and guarantee economic security. As part of the new bill, the Industrial Development Act will be updated to grant new powers for the government to fund new broadband projects across the UK. This will be for the benefit of “industry or local communities”.
The Industrial Development Act 1982 allows financial support to be supplied by the government to the industry. It is hoped that, by updating it in order to “reflect current economic realities”, the government will be able to:
“Support the roll-out of telecommunications and broadband across the UK”
“Provide more timely business support and reduce uncertainty in providing valuable investment to UK businesses”
Over the years, poor broadband has been considered a barrier for small businesses. Last summer, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) claimed that the UK’s broadband target is not ambitious enough.
Furthermore, a report by FSB showed that, whilst 94 per cent of small business owners considered a reliable internet connection to be crucial to the success of their business, just 15 per cent of firms said they were “very satisfied” with their broadband provision.
FSB reaction to the new bill
The FSB has welcomed the Enterprise Bill, saying that it looks “promising”. Following its publication, John Allan, National Chairman, said:
“Following quickly on the heels of the first ever Small Business Act, the FSB welcomes the introduction of the Enterprise Bill and the continued focus on boosting enterprise. To make an impact, the Bill should focus on a number of ongoing challenges facing businesses and ensure economic growth is supported.
“Those areas include reform of businesses rates, tackling the UK’s poor payments culture which sees too many of our members being paid beyond terms, lightening the burden of regulation and improving broadband connectivity.
“The initial measures in the Bill look to tackle these areas and are therefore promising, and we look forward to working with the Government to see their successful implementation.”
As well as providing faster broadband, the Enterprise Bill also hopes to:
- Help tackle late payments holding many small businesses back
- Secure high quality apprenticeships
- Allow the government’s £10 billion cutting red tape target to be “extended” to incorporate “the actions of regulators for the first time”
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