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East Midlands Chamber News

Slashing Red Tape Saves Firms £10bn Government Claims

Matthew HancockBusiness Minister Matthew Hancock has announced the Government’s war on red tape has saved business £10bn over the past four years.

A continued Red Tape drive could deliver a total £20bn of savings by 2020, by scrapping even more pointless regulations.

The Red Tape Challenge was driven by 30,000 businesses and members of the public from across the UK and overhauled regulation to make sure it works for – and not against – business. This includes heavy duty rules around employment that hinder the creation of new jobs as well as health and safety and environment laws that place unnecessary burdens on firms.

As part of the Government’s long term economic plan, Business Minister Matthew Hancock has enforced a strict 'one-in, two-out' rule, meaning Government departments are required to find a double cost saving for any new regulation imposed on business.

Business Minister Matthew Hancock said: “Today is a milestone for businesses of all shapes and sizes. I am very proud that the Government is the first in modern history to cut red tape and free up business to create jobs and prosperity.

“One-in two-out has delivered a fundamental change in the way Whitehall works. We are unashamedly pro-business and we will always back those who create jobs for others.

“Now we are officially winning the fight at home – we have to take the battle against red tape abroad. The EU has committed to reduce the burden of regulations and follow our lead.

“We need to see action in Brussels to reduce regulation and put jobs and growth first.”

Action against pointless red tape includes:

  • Live Music: Pubs and village halls can now host live music events between 8am and 11pm without applying for a license. This has saved business more than £1bn.
  • Christmas Crackers: Lowering the age at which people can legally buy Christmas crackers from 16 to 12 years old and simplifying the process for age identification through a new code of conduct created with businesses and local authorities.
  • Squirrel Spotting: We are scrapping the law which made it an offence to fail to report a grey squirrel on your land.
  • Babysitting: Child minders who feed children in their care no longer have to register separately as a 'food business'.
  • Lost Property: Bus companies no longer have to hold on to property, including decaying food left behind by passengers, for at least 48 hours and can instead decide themselves which items will be re-claimed.
  • Re-defining jam: Reforming a heavy-handed rule that meant that to qualify as 'jam' a preserve must have a sugar content of more than 60%. Reducing the minimum sugar content to 50% will help British producers to trade more easily across the world.
  • Counting Cows: Cattle movements no longer have to be recorded on a lengthy paper based system and now are tracked online, freeing up farmers.

Since Prime Minister David Cameron committed to reduce the cost of regulation to business during the Government’s term of office, businesses have benefited from over a thousand reforms targeting:

  • Company law: Giving thousands of small businesses more freedom to decide whether their accounts need to be audited is saving firms at least £300m each year.
  • Employment: The introduction of early conciliation is helping employers and employees settle issues quickly, avoiding the expense, risk and stress of going to an Employment Tribunal. This is saving businesses £24m a year.
  • Planning: Simplifying guidance online and reducing existing planning guidance by 80% is saving money, speeding up the decision-making process and getting Britain building.
  • Health and Safety: Hundreds of thousands of low-risk businesses such as shops and offices no longer have to undergo unnecessary, unannounced inspections. And businesses are no longer automatically liable for workplace accidents that are not their fault.
  • Environment: Setting out clearer arrangements to improve contaminated land is delivering over £130m in annual savings.

New reforms set out in a Statement of New Regulation, which details all regulatory changes to affect business made over the full course of the Parliament, include:

  • Housing Standards: Streamlining hundreds of technical housing standards to just five national standards, saving house-builders and councils £96m a year.
  • Driving reforms: Removing the requirement to return motor insurance certificates if a policy is cancelled mid-term, saving insurers and other businesses nearly £30m a year.

Dr Adam Marshall, Executive Director of Policy and External Affairs at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The government is making a real and concerted effort to cut red tape for businesses, helping to save them time and money. The ‘one-in, two-out’ rule has dramatically slowed the flow of new business regulations from Whitehall departments, giving firms greater confidence to focus on growth.

“However, the job is not yet done. Government efforts to reduce red tape must continue, both at home and in Brussels. We have long fought for better vetting of EU regulations before they hit the statute book and will support UK Ministers in their efforts to ensure that European regulatory proposals undergo full and proper economic assessments, to ensure they don't impose excessive burdens on businesses."