Manufacturers to take the Red Tape Challenge

Posted on 14 Jul 2011 by The Manufacturer

Industry bodies like the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) and EEF are keying up the manufacturing community to take part in the Red Tape Challenge.

The Challenge, which asks business representatives, as well as individuals, to put forward their suggestions for ways in which government can reduce regulations and administrative burdens on British companies, has been listening to submissions from other sectors, including retail, hospitality and construction, since April this year.

A week today however, it will be the turn of manufacturers to take control of the fate of their industry regulation. Submissions to the Red Tape Challenge by UK manufacturers can be made between July 21 and August 11.

The Challenge is of particular benefit to smaller companies in the UK who would ordinarily struggle to have a voice in policy reform. Neale Ryan, national network manager for MAS has commented: “The Red Tape Challenge really is a rare opportunity for manufacturers to have their say on the regulations that affect them. That’s why MAS is urging manufacturers to take part and tell the Government what changes they would like to see.”

In starting this initiative government has admitted that the 21,000 business regulation currently active in the UK are both unnecessary and restrictive for companies. They have started this democratic overhaul in order to try and lean up the regulatory system and support business growth as the UK emerges from recession.

Manufacturers will be able to share opinions about the regulations that affect them – which should stay, which should be simplified and which should be removed. Ministers will have to justify any decisions which leave in place regulations targeted by industry for scrappage.

Many manufacturers, anticipating the chance to voice their dissatisfaction with current regulatory frameworks, have said they will target environmental and workforce regulation in the submissions.

In the case of the former, green taxation and the cumulative impact of different carbon levies on energy-intensive manufacturing processes have been a point for heated debate in industry circles in recent months. In relation to the latter, alterations to agency worker regulations and parental leave obligation have caused concern for many in addition to the ubiquitous impact of the abolition of the default retirement age.

Business development and commercial manager, at automotive manufacturer, Gestamp, Mark Potts, commented on the forthcoming Red Tape Challenge opportunity saying: “There are some regulations and standards that obviously must be maintained and help to promote best practice within industry. There are, however, a number of regulations which increase the burden on manufacturers without delivering any obvious benefits.”

Potts continued: “I, for example, would like to see a reversal of the lowering of both the Climate Change Levy threshold, which will penalise smaller energy intensive companies such as ours, and Feed In Tariffs (FITs), which will affect the commercial viability of installing green technologies, such as solar panels.”

The impact of these regulations on the manufacturing community is to be assessed in the August issue of TM in the magazine’s lead sustainability feature.