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Biz law reform: Bad news for lawyers, good news for hippies

Eco-tech funds in, tribunals out in draft bill

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Vince Cable presented his new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill to Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, promising more action on competition, streamlined employment tribunals and a £3bn Green Bank that will funnel cash into eco-friendly energy and tech industries.

The proposed changes to employment law will encourage work-related disputes to be settled by negotiation with the independent ACAS body, rather than tribunals, a process that should be faster and cheaper than the litigation route. Plans to stop people with less than two years' employment at a company from launching unfair dismissal cases have been dropped, however.

In a move to throttle directors' outlandish salaries, the Business Secretary's draft law also gives shareholders the ability to hold binding votes on board executives' pay.

Cable also announced an extension to copyright for artistic works, extending it to the author's life plus 70 years.

Meanwhile, the new Competition and Markets Authority proposed by the bill will bring together the monopoly probing functions of the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission, and will be the principal competition authority with a remit to tackle anticompetitive behaviour.

Cable said:

Growing our economy out of a period of acute crisis is the most pressing issue for this Government. We want to make sure the right conditions are in place to encourage investment and exports, boost enterprise, support green growth and build a responsible business culture.

However, Labour’s shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said the bill didn't provide a “compelling vision” for economic growth.

The proposals must now make their way through Parliament before the bill becomes law. ®

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