Government pledges to cut red tape

Relief from the perennial burden of red tape could be in sight after the Cabinet Office announced a project to measure and then reduce the paperwork and administration faced by small businesses.

Recommended by business-led independent watchdog the Better Regulation Taskforce, the cross-Government project will set ‘cast-iron targets’ for reducing red tape, said John Hutton, Minister for the Cabinet Office, launching the scheme.

‘If we are serious about delivering better regulation by tackling the cost of admin burdens on business, we first need to be able to measure exactly what that cost is,’ explained Hutton. ‘This approach has been recommended to us by business leaders and I am delighted to get it underway. It will be an important way for businesses to hold the Government to account on our success in delivering better regulation that lightens the load on business while protecting standards for consumers and working people.’

The measurement exercise, conducted by the Better Regulation Executive, should be complete in early 2006. Clear targets will then be set so businesses can assess the progress being made.

The project, based on a model created by the Dutch Government, involves interviewing businesses, charities and independent organisations on the costs of complying with legislation.

To help this process Hutton also launched a new online portal at to allow businesses to name which regulations are particularly troublesome.

‘We need businesses to keep sending in their priorities for simplifying regulations they have to comply with,’ said Hutton. ‘This new portal will make it simpler for people to get their views across – and we are committing to respond to every suggestion within 90 working days, saying whether we intend to take the proposal forward or explaining why we believe the regulation is necessary to uphold standards.’

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Red Tape