Small businesses to be greeted by cuts in red tape

Dozens of cuts to red tape are set to come into force in response to issues raised by businesses.

The Red Tape Challenge is among the influences for the cuts, an initiative which invited firms to give their views on which regulations should be improved or scrapped.

Simplifying the way firms use their assets to raise finance will save businesses over £21 million, it is estimated.

Changes include moving registration and payment online and introducing a UK-wide registration system for the first time.

Deregulatory changes to building regulations are part of a wider package that will save business in total over £50 million per year, whilst ensuring buildings remain safe and sustainable.

Other efforts coming into force include reducing administration on low-risk electrical works, and clearer, more consistent guidance on requirements for access to buildings, glazing and protection from falling.

The drive to simplify health and safety requirements continues with the removal of a raft of redundant or unnecessary regulations in areas including celluloid film, shipbuilding and ship repair.

Abolishing pointless regulations affecting the sale of goods will free up valuable time for retailers and give more clarity to consumers, it is hoped.

Unnecessary regulations specifying the quantities of heavy metals in pencils, and redundant measures to prevent arsenic getting into food are also being abolished. Product and food safety is now covered by modern legislation, reflecting latest technological knowledge and ensuring comprehensive consumer protection.

The minimum consultation required for large-scale redundancies falls today from 90 to 45 days, giving employers greater flexibility to restructure but ensuring that meaningful consultation with staff takes place.

Business minister Michael Fallon says, ‘Setting business free from the restrictions that hold back enterprise is a compulsory step on the road to growth. We’ve listened to firms and taken prompt action where regulation presents barriers – but there is a huge amount still to do.

‘We will quicken the pace by launching a new phase of the Red Tape Challenge this summer, focusing on key areas for growth. And I’m keeping up the pressure across Whitehall so that government always puts business before bureaucracy.’

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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