Page last updated at 17:51 GMT, Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Minister: Enterprise Bill will empower consumers

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Peers have begun a general debate on legislation aiming to boost British business and economic growth.

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill was introduced in the Lords at second reading on 14 November 2012 by Business Minister Lord Marland.

Peers were told that a new right would be added to the bill to give consumers the power to request information about their mobile phones, energy bill and credit cards to help them make sure they are getting the best deal.

The bill contains a package of measures to "get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy", establish the Green Investment Bank and make changes to the employment tribunal system.

Labour said the bill was a "missed opportunity" that would do little to help businesses or the economy.

Opposition spokesman Lord Stevenson of Balmacara claimed employee rights would be "watered down", which would damage growth and consumer confidence.

He also said the bill failed to live up to government rhetoric on shareholder activism.

Labour peer Lord Gavron told the Lords he did not believe the government was "going far enough in the right direction" on directors' pay.

He said directors of public companies had "soared ahead" of other professions, being paid "up to 50 times as much as their former peers, some even more than that".

"[They] have not exercised moderation, they have helped themselves beyond all reason, beyond the bounds of fair play," he said.

Liberal Democrat Lord Razzall said he supported the bill.

He said: "You can't create growth by legislation. All you can do is pass legislation that provides a modest degree of help and I think this bill does that, and I welcome it."

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