The Forum of Private Business has urged the government to think about the needs of smaller businesses when developing legislation. They have criticised current legislation for only considering big businesses. They have said that this often results in smaller businesses, with fewer employees, having difficulty competing with their larger counterparts.

Their comments were made in response to a government consultation. The ‘Thinking Business in Policy’ review aims to understand the effect of policy making on business. Amongst their other concerns, the FPB has highlighted the forthcoming Equality Bill as an area of immediate concern. The FPB believe that the government underestimate how much time is needed to fully comprehend new legislation before it can be implemented by firms. For example, the government have assessed that an SME should need only one hour to comprehend the disability discrimination section of the new act. However, the FPB believe that for a company with little experience in interpreting legislation, much more time will be required before the necessary changes can be made.

Matt Goodman, policy representative for FPB commented: “We believe that, through improved understanding of the nature of small businesses and by making much more accurate assessments of the implications of the legislation, decision-makers can make informed judgements about the advantages and disadvantages of policies. Policy-makers should also consider how their policies are going to boost the UK economy.”

He concluded: “It’s not enough simply to consider the social benefits of legislation without giving thought to the bigger picture. Many businesses feel they are often seen as those which should automatically pay for attempts at influencing social change.”

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