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Government aims to make UK best place to innovate

The government launches a probe into barriers that stifle entrepreneurs, and creates a plan on how to drive innovation in the UK

Business secretary Sajid Javid has announced an investigation into employment rules that could act as barriers to innovation and prevent employees from launching a startup after leaving a job.

The government has launched a consultation asking for views on how to “prevent red tape from stifling entrepreneurship”. This includes non-compete clauses, which prevent individuals working for a competitor for a certain amount of time after leaving a company. The consultation will be open until 22 May.

The survey will ask businesses on their views on a range of topics, such as how the government can continue “to be a world leader in open government and transparency”, what difficulties businesses run into when seeking finance for innovation, and using government procurement to “kickstart development of technology”.

Javid said that Britain is “ahead of the curve” when it comes to innovation. “But I want to see more enterprising startups and greater productivity in a free and fair marketplace. [This can be done] by making sure we take action to break down any barriers that are curbing innovation and entrepreneurship,” he said.

The survey will feed into an innovation plan, which aims to set out how the government can help make the UK “a better place to turn ideas into new products and technologies”.

The plan will look at how regulation can improve and drive innovation, as well as how procurement can encourage new ideas and technologies.

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Founder of Enterprise Nation Emma Jones said more than half a million startups are created in the UK each year, which highlights the need to get rid of barriers for individuals wanting to innovate.

“Entrepreneurial individuals need to be able to ease out of employment and into self-employment, so a move to look into how employment contracts reflect this and the modern economy is warmly welcomed,” she said.

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