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Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill 2012-13
(This Bill is from a previous session)
Bill is now an Act
Type of Bill:
The Bill was announced in the Queen's speech of 9 May 2012 and was introduced to the House of Commons on 23 May 2012. Aspects of the Bill apply to all regions of the United Kingdom.
The Bill aims to reduce the regulatory burden placed on businesses, reform competition law and establish the UK Green Investment Bank.
The Bill will allow for:
- operational powers to be granted to the UK Green Investment Bank, including funding powers. The Bank's purpose will be enshrined in law, and its independence from government established
- the creation of a single Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), bringing together the Competition Commission (CC) and the competition functions of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
- reform of the workplace dispute resolution system, with more flexible tribunals and greater use of early conciliation
- company shareholders to determine that their directors' pay should be contingent upon shareholder approval of the directors' remuneration report
- the extension of the primary authority scheme, designed to simplify the regulatory relationship between local authorities and businesses
- the repeal of unnecessary regulatory legislation
In addition to the above measures, the Government at Lords committee stage introduced a new section to the Bill ensuring consumers have electronic access to their transactions. These measures are aimed at stimulating competition by enabling the buyer to see the details of their transactions and therefore make better consumer choices.
The coalition government committed to cutting red tape for businesses after the 2010 election, launching the red tape challenge to identify burdensome regulations. The government also consulted on binding remuneration votes for shareholders in early 2012 and issued proposals on competition in March 2012, following a consultation the previous year. The government is expected to receive the European Commission's approval for state aid for the UK Green Investment Bank by early 2013.
The Green Investment Bank was welcomed by environmental stakeholders including Greenpeace, but the group warned that the bank must have sufficient borrowing powers to really make an impact.
The Institute of Directors acknowledged that executive pay has become decoupled from performance, but the British Chambers of Commerce said that the responsibility for pay deals should be exercised by companies' non-executive directors and remuneration committees, in the interests of shareholders.
The Society of Editors criticises the measures which would reduce the length of copyright terms and believes that any changes to the UK's copyright framework should be "industry-led".
The Federation of Master Builders welcomed the Bill's reform of tribunal arrangements, saying that it would offer the flexibility small businesses require.