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Bribery Act revision a boost for small business sector

The government, under pressure from an incensed small business sector, has revised the guidelines of its new Bribery Act. Businesses reacted with scalding criticism to the unveiling of the draft regulation in 2010, viewing it as a threat to growth. The act will be introduced in July.

Initially created to tackle corruption in the public sector, the Bribery Act’s remit was extended to the private business world. This extension and the perceived threat to corporate hospitality (a main means for SMEs to meet clients), the expected costs for implementing compliance testing and the risk of draconian punishments fuelled the initial backlash.

However, it would seem that the government has displayed some common sense. It has issued revised guidelines that present a much clearer outline of how the act will work for small companies, a move which has been widely welcomed by the sector. Gone is the threat of heavy fines or jail sentences for entertaining clients and the prospect of crippling administration costs.

In the wake of the recent budget, the revision of the Bribery Act can be seen as another positive in terms of nurturing conditions for small business growth in the UK and should help these companies achieve the forward momentum many have predicted for the second half of the year.

A Royal Mail survey would seem to back this forecast, naming Lincoln and Swansea as leading hotspots for business growth, while the Credit Conditions Survey published by the Bank of England showed banks expect a small increase in the availability of credit to businesses over the second quarter.

Credit remains an issue in the world of small business finance, but recent activity suggests the foundations for an improvement in conditions are being put in place. Combine this with better knowledge of finance products and services, such as invoice discounting and factoring, and companies can be more optimistic.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact us on 01903 602211 or info@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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