Enterprise Bill

Report Stage and Third Reading, House of Commons, 8 March and 9 March 2016

Key messages

  • The LGA supports the intention of the Enterprise Bill to promote economic growth. Councils can play a key role in this. We want to work closely with Government on proposals on the Primary Authority Scheme, apprenticeships, non-domestic rates and plans for a public sector exit payment cap to ensure these are workable and do not negatively impact on local authorities.
  • Clause 20: The proposed extension of the Primary Authority Scheme to smaller businesses and to include other regulators is welcome. We are however calling for the Bill to be amended to enable a primary authority and business to negotiate an agreed fee to be charged for primary authority services. This would mean councils could charge at less or more than cost recovery rate as long as the fee was agreed with the business.
  • This measure would also ensure councils were not forced to charge at less than the market rate for some of the services provided, as is the case at the moment. 45 per cent of businesses surveyed by the Better Regulation Delivery Office recognised that the level of service they received was worth more than the amount they paid for it1.
  • Clause 24: We do not support proposals in the Bill that would allow the Secretary of State to set mandatory apprenticeship targets for prescribed public bodies, including for local authorities. Central government should work closely with local government, through the LGA, to develop alternative routes to local authorities supporting central government's objectives.
  • Many councils are having to reduce workforce numbers further over the next four years, some up to 40 per cent. This means councils may lack both the job opportunities or people to deliver a centrally determined target on apprentices.

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Committee Stage, House of Commons, 23 February and 25 February 2016

Key messages

  • The LGA supports the intention of the Enterprise Bill to promote economic growth. Councils can play a key role in this. We want to work closely with Government on proposals on the Primary Authority Scheme, apprenticeships, non-domestic rates and plans for a public sector exit payment cap to ensure these are workable and do not negatively impact on local authorities.
  • Clause 25: We support giving the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) the power to share data on non-domestic rates with councils, which is not currently possible. The Government has consulted on council tax collection ("Improving efficiency of council tax collection"1) and through our response to this we are calling for the VOA to also have the power to share council tax data to match that proposed by the Bill on sharing business rates data.
  • Clause 26: We support Clause 26, alteration of non-domestic rating lists, which, if implemented, will allow for regulations to be introduced at a later date that would reform the business rates appeals process. There are currently around 300,000 appeals outstanding and councils are having to set aside around £1.75 billion to cover these potential costs.
  • However, the Chancellor's announcement on local government retaining 100 per cent of business rates by the end of this Parliament means this £1.75 billion figure could potentially double for councils if no action is taken. We are calling on Government to look urgently at reducing the risk for councils, for example through businesses self-assessing their rateable value at the time of business rates re-evaluation.
  • Clause 35: We recognise the need to protect public funds but have a number of concerns about the proposal for a public sector payment cap as currently drafted. For example, it is vital the proposed exit cap is flexible and also updated on a regular basis to take into account differences in pay increases in separate areas of the public sector.
  • Government should publish details on the implementation and scope of the cap as soon as possible in order to avoid negatively impacting on workplace restructuring processes in local authorities.
  • Further, we are calling for immediate discussions between Government and stakeholders on technical considerations on the proposed exit cap; such as if the cap will include other means by which an individual can access an unreduced pension. For example, the Local Government Pension Scheme allows members to take some or all of their pension whilst still in employment, meaning a pensions strain cost may not become payable at the individual's point of exit, but beforehand.
  • We also have concerns about how the proposed waiver process will apply in school settings where relevant governing bodies have their own decision making powers.

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Committee Stage, House of Commons, 11 February 2016

Key messages

  • The LGA supports the intention of the Enterprise Bill to promote economic growth. Councils can play a key role in this. We want to work closely with Government on proposals on the Primary Authority Scheme, apprenticeships, non-domestic rates and plans for a public sector exit payment cap to ensure these are workable and do not negatively impact on local authorities.

  • Clause 19: The proposed extension of the Primary Authority Scheme to smaller businesses and to include other regulators is welcome. We are however calling for the Bill to be amended to enable a primary authority and business to negotiate an agreed fee to be charged for primary authority services. This would mean councils could charge at less or more than cost recovery rate as long as the fee was agreed with the business.

  • This measure would also ensure councils were not forced to charge at less than the market rate for some of the services provided, as is the case at the moment. 45 per cent of businesses surveyed by the Better Regulation Delivery Office recognised that the level of service they received was worth more than the amount they paid for it.

Download the full briefing:
Enterprise Bill, Committee Stage, House of Commons, 11 February 2016 (PDF)


Second Reading, House of Commons, 2 February 2016

Key messages

  • The LGA supports the intention of the Enterprise Bill to promote economic growth. Councils can play a key role in this. We want to work closely with Government on proposals on the Primary Authority Scheme, apprenticeships, non-domestic rates and plans for a public sector exit payment cap to ensure these are workable and do not negatively impact on local authorities.
  • Clause 19: The proposed extension of the Primary Authority Scheme to smaller businesses and to include other regulators is welcome. We are however calling for the Bill to be amended to enable a primary authority and business to negotiate an agreed fee to be charged for primary authority services. This would mean councils could charge at less or more than cost recovery rate as long as the fee was agreed with the business.
  • This measure would also ensure councils were not forced to charge at less than the market rate for some of the services provided, as is the case at the moment. 45 per cent of businesses surveyed by the Better Regulation Delivery Office recognised that the level of service they received was worth more than the amount they paid for it1.

Download the full briefing:
Second Reading, House of Commons, 2 February 2016 (PDF)


Third Reading, House of Lords, 15 December 2015

Key messages

  • The LGA supports the intention of the Enterprise Bill to promote economic growth. Councils can play a key role in this. We want to work closely with Government on proposals on the Primary Authority Scheme, apprenticeships, non-domestic rates and plans for a public sector exit payment cap to ensure these are workable and do not negatively impact on local authorities.

  • Clause 19: The proposed extension of the Primary Authority Scheme to smaller businesses and to include other regulators is welcome. We are however calling for the Bill to be amended to enable a primary authority and business to negotiate an agreed fee to be charged for primary authority services. This would mean councils could charge at less or more than cost recovery rate as long as the fee was agreed with the business.

  • This measure would also ensure councils were not forced to charge at less than the market rate for some of the services provided, as is the case at the moment. 45 per cent of businesses surveyed by the Better Regulation Delivery Office recognised that the level of service they received was worth more than the amount they paid for it.

Download the full LGA briefing:
LGA briefing: Third Reading, House of Lords, 15 December 2015 (PDF, 5 pages, 150KB)
 


Report Stage, House of Lords, 25 November 2015

Key messages

  • The LGA supports the intention of the Enterprise Bill to promote economic growth. Councils can play a key role in this. We want to work closely with Government on proposals on the Primary Authority Scheme, apprenticeships, non-domestic rates and plans for a public sector exit payment cap to ensure these are workable and do not negatively impact on local authorities.

  • Clause 17: The proposed extension of the Primary Authority Scheme to smaller businesses and to include other regulators is welcome. We also support amendments 43 and 44 that would enable a primary authority and business to negotiate an agreed fee to be charged for primary authority services. This would mean councils could charge at less or more than cost recovery rate as long as the fee was agreed with the business.

  • This measure would also ensure councils were not forced to charge at less than the market rate for some of the services provided, as is the case at the moment. 45 per cent of businesses surveyed by the Better Regulation Delivery Office recognised that the level of service they received was worth more than the amount they paid for it.

Download the full LGA briefing:
LGA briefing: Enterprise Bill Committee Stage (PDF, 5 pages)
LGA briefing: Enterprise Bill Report Stage amendment statements (PDF, 2 pages, 109KB)


Committee Stage, House of Lords, 28 October 2015

Key messages

  • The LGA supports the intention of the Enterprise Bill to promote economic growth. Councils can play a key role in this. We want to work closely with Government on proposals on the Primary Authority Scheme, apprenticeships, non-domestic rates and plans for a public sector exit payment cap to ensure these are workable and do not negatively impact on local authorities.

  • Clause 17: We are calling for the Bill to be amended to enable a primary authority and business to negotiate an agreed fee to be charged for primary authority services. This would mean councils could charge at less or more than cost recovery rate as long as the fee was agreed with the business. 

  • This measure would also ensure councils were not forced to charge at less than the market rate for some of the services provided, as is the case at the moment. 45 per cent of businesses surveyed by the Better Regulation Delivery Office recognised that the level of service they received was worth more than the amount they paid for it.

Download the full LGA briefing:

LGA briefing: Enterprise Bill Committee Stage (PDF, 4 pages)
LGA briefing: Enterprise Bill Committee Stage amendment statements (PDF, 2 pages, 109KB)


Second Reading, House of Lords, 12 October 2015

Key messages

  • The LGA supports the intention of the Enterprise Bill to promote economic growth. Councils can play a key role in this. We want to work closely with the Government on proposals on the Primary Authority Scheme, apprenticeships, non-domestic rates and plans for a public sector exit payment cap, while ensuring these do not negatively impact on local authorities.

  • Clause 17: The proposed extension of the Primary Authority Scheme to smaller businesses and to include other regulators is welcome. Ahead of introducing detailed regulations to implement the proposal, Government must continue to consult widely in order to ensure local government can advise on the relevant key issues affecting councils.

  • The Bill should go further and update the basis on which councils can charge for the Scheme. Councils should be able to charge on the basis of reasonable fees that would be agreed and negotiated by the primary authority and businesses, rather than being limited to charging on a cost recovery basis.

Download the full LGA briefing:
LGA briefing: Enterprise Bill Second Reading (PDF, 4 pages)

31 March 2016