Government reports progress on red tape cuts

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Cuts in bureaucracy and red tape are reducing the burdens placed on businesses, according to latest Government figures.

The Fourth Statement of New Regulation, which reports on the application of the One-in, One-out rule to new domestic regulation for the second half of 2012 shows that since 2011, savings to business from cuts in regulation have outweighed the costs of new domestic regulation by over £850m.

Initiatives include:

  • The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ (BIS) amendment of restrictions to move between International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and UK Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (UK GAAP) to give businesses more flexibility to determine their most appropriate set of accounting rules.
  • The Home Office’s simplification of its criminal records disclosure and barring arrangements, making criminal records checks more portable and reducing the need for repeat checks.
  • BIS’ Audit Exemptions will give small business and subsidiaries flexibility in how they submit their company reports.
  • Measures to be removed or simplified as a result of the Red Tape Challenge initiative, such as repealing the Smoke-Free Signs Regulations and exempting small venues staging live music events from the 2003 Licensing Act.

Business and Enterprise Minister, Mark Prisk, said:

“These measures show we are making steady progress on the long road to a better regulatory environment for business.

“It demonstrates the effectiveness of the One-in, One-Out system, where Government only regulates when it is in the interests of the economy or clearly necessary for personal safety.”

Commented Adrian Hoggarth, Head of Employment at Prolegal:

“Proposals to simplify existing employment laws are to be welcomed. Whilst large employers with well-staffed HR departments are able to cope with the complexities of modern employment laws, smaller employers struggle.

“However, the Government’s suggested simplifications, for example with the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, may have the reverse effect.

“The Employment Lawyers Association is right to question the lack of consultation and identify the potential problems before they become live issues.

“By way of example, the new proposal on ‘protected conversations’ was added to the Bill as a late amendment after the Government shelved Adrian Beecroft’s idea to introduce ‘compensated no-fault dismissals’.

“The ability to have a ‘protected conversation’ is an attractive concept for employers looking to make hassle-free dismissals. However, the current proposals have not been the subject of detailed consultation, are extremely limited in scope and raise far more questions than they answer.”

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