The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on the Better Regulation Bill, which aims to reduce burdens on business and deliver changes to existing regulations; the flow of new regulation; and the culture.

Over the 12-week consultation process, the Scottish Government is seeking views from the business community, regulators and local authorities on a number of measures being proposed in the new Bill, including:

* Defining and implementing national standards and systems
* Reviews and sunsetting
* Prompt payment
* Promoting economic and business growth through regulatory activity
* Linking planning application fees to the performance of the planning authority

Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing said:

“The Scottish Government and our enterprise agencies are doing all we can to retain Scotland’s position as the most supportive environment for business in the UK. We recognise the huge contribution that businesses of all sizes make to our economy and that is why this Government is consulting on proposals that aim to make regulations more effective while reducing burdens on business.

“A thriving business community is essential to driving economic growth across Scotland and it is important that any regulations are transparent, proportionate, consistent, accountable and targeted to ensure a supportive business environment.

“I strongly believe that while regulation is necessary to protect the environment, consumers, individuals and business, our approach must also ensure that regulation is necessary, effective and meets the principles of better regulation.

“Better regulation has an important role to play in helping this Government create a more successful and sustainable Scotland, through creating the conditions for economic growth.

“We all have an important role to play in helping to achieve a culture where better regulation is the norm, which is why I encourage feedback and views on the proposals outlined in this consultation.”

The Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Scottish Policy Convenor Andy Willox OBE said:

“Three in ten of our members in Scotland identify regulation as a barrier to their business success; we therefore welcome this move from the Scottish Government. The Better Regulation Bill has the potential to improve efficiency, save public and private money and encourage business investment and growth.

“The FSB has long called for more consistency and clarity in how business regulations are applied across Scotland. The Scottish Government’s plan for a presumption in favour of a standardised, Scotland-wide approach therefore has to be commended.”

CBI Scotland Assistant Director David Lonsdale said:

“Red tape is a real bugbear for firms and can be a significant and avoidable constraint on business growth, and the Scottish Government is to be commended for seeking to tackle the regulatory burden. The moves to encourage the prompt payment of supplier invoices and ensure the rise in planning application fees goes hand in hand with a measurable improvement in service to commercial applicants are welcome too.”

Regulatory Review Group Chair Professor Russell Griggs OBE said:

“I am delighted that we have this opportunity to put in place a framework for better regulation in Scotland and help regulators embed better regulation into their culture.

“The proposed Bill addresses a number of issues the Regulatory Review Group has been involved with over the last few years. We are pleased that the Scottish Government has recognised these and is looking to address them.”