Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015

Publication Date:January 01, 2015
 
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Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015

2015 CHAPTER 26

An Act to make provision about improved access to finance for businesses and individuals; to make provision about regulatory provisions relating to business and certain voluntary and community bodies; to make provision about the exercise of procurement functions by certain public authorities; to make provision for the creation of a Pubs Code and Adjudicator for the regulation of dealings by pub-owning businesses with their tied pub tenants; to make provision about the regulation of the provision of childcare; to make provision about information relating to the evaluation of education; to make provision about the regulation of companies; to make provision about company filing requirements; to make provision about the disqualification from appointments relating to companies; to make provision about insolvency; to make provision about the law relating to employment; and for connected purposes.

[26th March 2015]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

1 Access to finance

PART 1

Access to finance

Assignment of receivables

Assignment of receivables

S-1 Power to invalidate certain restrictive terms of business contracts

1 Power to invalidate certain restrictive terms of business contracts

(1) The appropriate authority may by regulations make provision for the purpose of securing that any non-assignment of receivables term of a relevant contract-

(a) has no effect

(b) has no effect in relation to persons of a prescribed description

(c) has effect in relation to persons of a prescribed description only for such purposes as may be prescribed.

(2) A "non-assignment of receivables term" of a contract is a term which prohibits or imposes a condition, or other restriction, on the assignment (or, in Scotland, assignation) by a party to the contract of the right to be paid any amount under the contract or any other contract between the parties.

(3) A contract is a relevant contract if-

(a) it is a contract for goods, services or intangible assets (including intellectual property) which is not an excluded financial services contract, and

(b) at least one of the parties has entered into it in connection with the carrying on of a business.

(4) An "excluded financial services contract" is a contract which-

(a) is for financial services (see section 2) or is a regulated agreement within the meaning of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (see section 189 of that Act); and

(b) is of a prescribed description.

(5) "Prescribed" means prescribed by the regulations.

(6) The "appropriate authority" means-

(a) in relation to contracts to which the law of Scotland applies, the Scottish Ministers, and

(b) in relation to other contracts, the Secretary of State.

(7) The power of the Scottish Ministers to make regulations under this section includes power to make such provision as the Scottish Ministers consider appropriate in consequence of the regulations.

(8) The power conferred by subsection (7) includes power-

(a) to make transitional, transitory or saving provision

(b) to amend, repeal, revoke or otherwise modify any provision made by or under an enactment (including an enactment contained in this Act and any enactment passed or made in the same Session as this Act).

(9) In subsection (8) "enactment" includes an Act of the Scottish Parliament.

(10) Regulations under this section-

(a) if made by the Scottish Ministers, are subject to the affirmative procedure

(b) if made by the Secretary of State, are subject to affirmative resolution procedure.

S-2 Section 1\\(4)\\(a): meaning of "financial services"

2 Section 1\\(4)\\(a): meaning of "financial services"

(1) In section 1(4)(a) "financial services" means any service of a financial nature, including (but not limited to)-

(a) insurance-related services consisting of-

(i) direct life assurance;

(ii) direct insurance other than life assurance;

(iii) reinsurance and retrocession;

(iv) insurance intermediation, such as brokerage and agency;

(v) services auxiliary to insurance, such as consultancy, actuarial, risk assessment and claim settlement services;

(b) banking and other financial services consisting of-

(i) accepting deposits and other repayable funds;

(ii) lending (including consumer credit, mortgage credit, factoring and financing of commercial transactions);

(iii) financial leasing;

(iv) payment and money transmission services (including credit, charge and debit cards, travellers' cheques and bankers' drafts);

(v) providing guarantees or commitments;

(vi) financial trading (as defined in subsection (2));

(vii) participating in issues of any kind of securities (including underwriting and placement as an agent, whether publicly or privately) and providing services related to such issues;

(viii) money brokering;

(ix) asset management, such as cash or portfolio management, all forms of collective investment management, pension fund management, custodial, depository and trust services;

(x) settlement and clearing services for financial assets (including securities, derivative products and other negotiable instruments);

(xi) providing or transferring financial information, and financial data processing or related software (but only by suppliers of other financial services);

(xii) providing advisory and other auxiliary financial services in respect of any activity listed in sub-paragraphs (i) to (xi) (including credit reference and analysis, investment and portfolio research and advice, advice on acquisitions and on corporate restructuring and strategy).

(2) In subsection (1)(b)(vi) "financial trading" means trading for own account or for account of customers, whether on an investment exchange, in an over-the-counter market or otherwise, in-

(a) money market instruments (including cheques, bills and certificates of deposit);

(b) foreign exchange;

(c) derivative products (including futures and options);

(d ) exchange rate and interest rate instruments (including products such as swaps and forward rate agreements);

(e) transferable securities;

(f) other negotiable instruments and financial assets (including bullion).

Business payment practices

Business payment practices

S-3 Companies: duty to publish report on payment practices and performance

3 Companies: duty to publish report on payment practices and performance

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations impose a requirement, on such descriptions of companies as may be prescribed, to publish, at such intervals and in such manner as may be prescribed, prescribed information about-

(a) the company's payment practices and policies relating to relevant contracts of a prescribed description, and

(b) the company's performance by reference to those practices and policies.

(2) For the purposes of this section-

"company" has the meaning given by section 1(1) of the Companies Act 2006 (but see subsection (3));

a contract is a "relevant contract" if- (a) it is a contract for goods, services or intangible assets (including intellectual property), and (b) the parties to the contract have entered into it in connection with the carrying on of a business;

"prescribed" means prescribed by the regulations.

(3) The regulations may not impose a requirement on a company in relation to any time during which-

(a) it qualifies as a micro-entity for the purposes of section 384A of the Companies Act 2006,

(b) the small companies regime under that Act applies to it (see section 381 of that Act), or

(c) it qualifies as medium-sized for the purposes of section 465 or 466 of that Act.

(4) "The company's payment practices and policies" has such meaning as may be prescribed and the information which may be prescribed may, in particular, include information-

(a) about the standard payment terms of the company and whether these are part of any code of conduct or code of ethics of the company,

(b) about payment terms of the company which are not standard,

(c) about the processing and payment of invoices,

(d) by reference to such codes of conduct or standards as may be prescribed and as are applicable to companies generally or to companies of a prescribed description,

(e) about disputes relating to the payment of invoices, including any dispute resolution mechanism that the company uses,

(f) about payments owed or paid by the company due to late payment of invoices, whether in respect of interest or otherwise.

(5) The regulations may require that information published in accordance with the regulations must be approved or signed by such description of person as may be prescribed.

(6) The regulations may require such of the information required to be published as may be prescribed to be given, in such form as may be prescribed, to prescribed persons.

(7) The regulations may make provision for a prescribed breach by a prescribed description of person of a requirement imposed by the regulations to be an offence punishable on summary conviction-

(a) in England and Wales, by a fine;

(b) in Scotland or Northern Ireland, by a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

(8) Before making regulations under this section the Secretary of State must consult such persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

(9) Regulations under this section are subject to affirmative resolution procedure.

Financial information about businesses

Financial information about businesses

S-4 Small and medium sized businesses: information to credit reference agencies

4 Small and medium sized businesses: information to credit reference agencies

(1) The Treasury may make regulations that impose-

(a) a duty on designated banks to provide information about...

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