Clearview South November 2013 - Issue 144 - Page 90

businessnews CUTS TO RED TAPE MARK ‘FREEDOM DAY’ FOR UK BUSINESSES Business Minister Michael Fallon announced good news for the growth prospects of UK companies as more common sense cuts to red tape are implemented. The reforms are part of the government’s drive to make the UK the best place to start and grow a business. Major reforms to reduce burdens on employers include: • freeing responsible employers from being held liable for workplace accidents and injuries where they have taken all reasonable steps to protect their employees, through reforms to civil liability rules for breaches of health and safety law • simplifying the mandatory reporting of workplace injuries for businesses, while ensuring that the data collected gives an accurate picture of workplace incidents • improving third party harassment legislation, so that employers will no longer be explicitly liable for third party harassment of staff, for example by customers or member of the public • removing the requirement for the Health and Safety Executive to approve training and qualifications of appointed first-aid personnel • simplifying company reporting requirements, including replacing a raft of redundant and unnecessary statutory forms with more flexible systems that are better suited to business needs • Primary Authority extended to cover more regulations and be more accessible to small businesses Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “For small firms, less time spent filling in forms means more time planning the next project, winning the next contract or looking for the next young recruit.” SKILLS SHORTAGE PROBLEM IS UNIQUE TO UK UK small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have identified a lack of access to growth capital and skills shortages as factors affecting their businesses, according to research complied by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA (Institute of Management Accountants), which found that compared to SME’s in other markets, concerns about skills shortages were expressed almost entirely by those in the UK, with 15% of UK respondents highlighting the issue. Cash-flow problems were also flagged up by the UK’s SMEs, who were almost twice as likely to cite securing late payment as a problem than larger business. Despite SMEs across the globe reporting greater access to growth capital, small businesses in the UK did not see much improvement. ‘We keep hearing that same old cliché about SMEs being the lifeblood of the UK economy, but right now they are facing obstacles that their overseas counterparts are not’ Rosana Mirkovic, ACCA’s head of SME Policy, said: “Our global analysis revealed trends that are very specific to the UK SMEs, most notably a skills shortage. Fifteen per cent doesn’t sound like much, but the fact is it barely registered as a problem with the small business communities elsewhere in the world. It is unique to the UK. “We keep hearing that same old cliché about SMEs being the lifeblood of the UK economy, but right now they are facing obstacles that their overseas counterparts are not. In the USA, for example, access to growth capital has increased considerably over the last 21 months. That’s not the case in the UK.” NEW FUNDING FOR TRAINEESHIP SCHEME ANNOUNCED An extra £20m is being made available to the government’s new Traineeships programme to support even more young people into Apprenticeships and other jobs. The additional funding was announced as Skills Minister Matthew Hancock travelled to Nottingham to meet young people already taking part in the scheme. Traineeships, which began in August, provide 16 to 23-year-olds with the skills, experience and confidence to compete in the labour market – helping them secure Apprenticeships or other jobs. 90 NOV 2013 More than 500 providers have pledged to take on trainees this year and so far 150 companies, both large and small, have all expressed an interest in offering placements to young people. Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “Traineeships give young people the helping hand they need to compete for Apprenticeships and other jobs. “The programme is off to an excellent start with strong backing from employers and training providers. “We have responded to this demand by providing additional investment and in time traineeships will become the clear route for young people looking to get the crucial grounding they need in the world of work.” Traineeships are part of the government’s wider aim to ensure the future workforce possess the skills employers want in their employees. ‘Traineeships will become the clear route’ For more information http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/ employers/traineeships.aspx To read more, visit www.clearview-uk.com