Banish bureaucratic burden, says FSB

Government red tape is five times more costly and time-consuming for small businesses than for large companies, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).


Government red tape is five times more costly and time-consuming for small businesses than for large companies, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Government red tape is five times more costly and time-consuming for small businesses than for large companies, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

As part of its six principles for election year, the FSB is warning the Government that only radical changes to the bureaucratic burden will convince small business owners that politicians are serious about the problem.

Red tape is a constant headache for small businesses and, despite many promises from the Government for a ‘bonfire’ of red tape, entrepreneurs say the volume, complexity and rate of change of regulations continue to be a barrier to growth.

“It is not surprising that small business owners are cynical about promises from politicians to tackle red tape,” maintains FSB policy chairman John Walker. “Despite hundreds of Government initiatives they still spend five times as much time as large companies dealing with regulations.”

Walker further reasons that resolving the problems of small businesses would be a powerful vote-winner: “6,000 voters in each constituency are waiting to be won over by the party that commits to radical action to tackle the cumulative impact of red tape.”

The FSB is calling on the political parties to commit to:

• Regulatory Impact Post-Implementation Assessments to formally evaluate all regulations a year after they come into force

• An accurate assessment of the likely administrative costs of new regulations rather than assumptions as at present

• ‘Sunset clauses’ to ensure that, if a regulation is no longer appropriate and is not renewed after a period, it will automatically become nullified

• Radical measures to deliver the cultural change that is needed so that civil servants genuinely consider alternatives to regulation

The FSBÂ’s first principle was for fairer taxes for small businesses and more will follow in the coming weeks including one on employment policies that are business-friendly as well as family-friendly. Go to www.fsb.co.uk for more details.

(1/3/05)

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