The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed the publication of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill.

Published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Bill aims to remove barriers to growth for small firms, strengthen the foundations for a sustainable recovery, and create jobs.

Measures proposed in the Bill include:

• improving access to finance by removing legal barriers to invoice finance;

• ensuring that new regulations affecting businesses are reviewed regularly and that regulations do not subject businesses to unnecessary burdens;

• increasing the penalties imposed on employers that underpay their workers in breach of the national minimum wage legislation;

• introduction of cheque imaging to speed up cheque clearing from six days to two.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The measures in this Bill are a step in the right direction towards reducing regulatory burdens on small businesses. Small retail businesses will welcome these measures, but will also be looking for more action to reduce the burden of business rates.”

Business secretary Vince Cable said: “The government is working hard to improve the environment for small businesses. Better access to finance for SMEs, measures to boost trust and transparency in British business and increasing fairness in the workplace are key issues that this bill aims to address.

“Our flagship measures will help hard-working people have confidence in their employers by tackling abuses in zero hours contracts, give publicans a fairer deal over big pub companies, tougher penalties for those who don’t pay the minimum wage and greater clarity around who owns and controls our companies.”