Cutting down on red tape saves businesses £10bn

Posted on 31 Dec 2014 by Jonny Williamson

Business Minister Matthew Hancock has announced the Government’s war on red tape has saved business upwards of £10bn over the past four years.

Business Minister Matthew Hancock.

The Red Tape Challenge was driven by 30,000 businesses and members of the public from across the UK and overhauled regulation to make sure it works for – and not against – business.

This includes heavy duty rules around employment that hinder the creation of new jobs as well as health and safety and environment laws that place unnecessary burdens on firms.

A continued drive could deliver a total £20bn of savings by 2020, by scrapping even more unnecessary regulations.

As part of the government’s long term economic plan Business Minister Matthew Hancock has enforced a strict ‘one-in, two-out’ rule, meaning government departments are required to find a double cost saving for any new regulation imposed on business.

Hancock commented: “One in, two out has delivered a fundamental change in the way Whitehall works; we are unashamedly pro-business and we will always back those who create jobs for others.

“Now we are officially winning the fight at home – we have to take the battle against red tape abroad. The EU has committed to reduce the burden of regulations and follow our lead…we need to see action in Brussels to reduce regulation and put jobs and growth first.”

Since Prime Minister David Cameron committed to reduce the cost of regulation to business during the Government’s term of office, businesses have benefited from over a thousand reforms targeting:

Company law – giving thousands of small businesses more freedom to decide whether their accounts need to be audited is reportedly saving firms at least £300m each year.

Employment – the introduction of Early Conciliation is helping employers and employees to settle issues quickly, avoiding the expense, risk and stress of going to an Employment Tribunal, saving businesses an estimated £24m annually.

Adam Marshall, director of policy, the British Chambers of Commerce.
Adam Marshall, executive director of policy, British Chambers of Commerce.

Planning – simplifying guidance online and reducing existing planning guidance by 80% is saving money, speeding up the decision-making process and getting Britain building.

Health and Safety – hundreds of thousands of low-risk businesses such as shops and offices no longer have to undergo unnecessary, unannounced inspections. And businesses are no longer automatically liable for workplace accidents that are not their fault.

Environment – setting out clearer arrangements to improve contaminated land is delivering upwards of £130m in annual savings.

Agreeing that the Government is making a real and concerted effort to cut red tape for businesses, Dr Adam Marshall, Executive Director of Policy and External Affairs at the British Chambers of Commerce, noted that the job is not yet done.

“Government efforts to reduce red tape must continue, both here at home and in Brussels. We have long fought for better vetting of EU regulations before they hit the statute book, and will support UK ministers in their efforts to ensure that European regulatory proposals undergo full and proper economic assessments, to ensure they don’t impose excessive burdens on businesses,” Marshall said.