This week saw a key and potentially transformative announcement that could significantly impact SMEs. This column has for a while highlighted the problems associated with business rates and the effect these have had on SMEs who use a non domestic property. A key announcement made by Chancellor George Osborne this week could change this system significantly. Also this week we look at the passing of a brand new law that has been introduced which will hopefully assist small business in tackling large firms who deliberately fix their prices.
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Councils given greater power to dictate business rates
- It has been announced by Chancellor George Osborne that local councils will have far more of a say in the way they dictate business rates.
- Councils will be able to cut the current rate or raise it if they choose to.
- At the moment businesses pay a base rate which is set by central government.
- It is hoped that the plan regenerate high street businesses as well as attract new investment and create jobs.
- It is hoped that these changes will come into place by 2020.
Breakdown – This may well depend on your politics but what this clearly does do is create a more competitive environment for local councils to increase revenue . Hopefully this will be healthy competition and will result in smaller high street businesses thriving. Although councils will be able to cut the rate most won’t be able to raise it – unless it is from London or Manchester who have mayors.
The news has been met with approval by the London Government Association who stated that “The LGA has long argued that the current system of business rates needed reform so councils could effectively support small businesses and boost high streets” it is not mandatory for councils to cut the rates, but it is hoped that giving them this unprecedented level of control will result in small high street businesses benefitting. However these new changes eventually look you can be sure that we will be following developments here on The Week in Startups.
New consumer rights act to help bring clarification
- The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have recently introduced a new law which is expected to help small firms to sue larger firms.
- This relates to prices being fixed amongst large companies .
- Previously prohibitive costs had made it very difficult for people to legally challenge large companies in this way.
- Now with a new ‘opt out ‘ clause every consumer who is affected by price fixing will be put into the same category.
- According to Business Minister Nick Boles these new changes will “Simplify the law for businesses so they can spend less time worrying about unclear and unwieldy regulations”.
Breakdown – The act itself is very comprehensive and according to BusinessCompanion “The new law makes it very clear what should happen when goods or digital content are faulty, or when services are not provided with reasonable care and skill”.
With consumer rights becoming more enshrined it will become easier not just in relation to legal challenges to cartels but will also establish exactly what is good practice of consumer transactions. This is the first time that rules have been clarified with regards to what should happen if a service isn’t carried out with care. For more information on what is included in this act read here for more information.
In other news… This week I attended an excellent event at Tech Hub on Tuesday evening. At their Tuesday Demo Night a number of excellent technology startups showcased their products and their various features. There were no judges critiquing the products – but the audience were allowed to ask questions after the pitches were made.
Based in Bonhill street Tech Hub offers a great environment for technology startups to work, network and grow. For more information on Tech Hub and exactly what they do see here for more information.
That it for this week’s issue. If you are interested in how MadeSimple can help your business run, start and grow see here for more information.