Red tape revolution

Posted on 18 Apr 2011 by The Manufacturer

Thousands have already seized the chance to submit ideas to the new Red Tape Programme, launched by government last week, to reduce the burden of regulation on UK businesses

Over 6,000 ideas and suggestions have poured into the Red Tape Programme’s website since it was launched last week and the feedback – direct from the mouths of business leaders across UK regions, sectors and sizes – will in inform future government policy.

The Red Tape Programme is part of the government’s Plan for Growth which was announced earlier this month and the initiative is being strongly backed by the manufacturer’s organisation, EEF.

Steve Radley, director of policy at EEF says of the dynamic new approach to business engagement from government: “EEF will be playing a full part in these initiatives and I would urge all manufacturer’s to get involved.” Radley enthusiastically describes the Red Tape Programme as “a three month window to comment on economy-wide issues such as, employment, pensions, and health and safety.”
Radley also recognises however that government’s engagement with business priorities, concerns and challenges needs to be longer term than this programme and has suggested that clsoer relations with Brussels, in order to mitigate the risk of insensitive EU policy being imposed on UK systems, as well as real knowledge building of British business and industry, through secondments for civil servants and other similar ideas, would be good starting points for finally delivering on the age old promise from policy makers that they will reduce the burden of red tape on business.

The first wave of the Red Tape Programme is focused on addressing bureaucracy in the retail industry. This focus, which has already experienced a deluge of response will continue until May 4, after which it will be the turn of the hospitality and food and drink sector to highlight key areas for change. The whole manufacturing sector will have the undivided attention of the Red Tape Programme from June 16-22.

So far the comments made in connection with reducing regulation in the retail sector have included discussions around:

•Simplifying the complex range of age restrictions on buying products, making it easier for businesses and consumers to understand.

•The use of metric and imperial measures and simplifying weights and measures regulation.

•Amending the egg marketing regulations. Small scale producers could then sell their eggs to local retailers without eggs having to be stamped, promoting growth and local produce.

•Repeal of Trading with Enemy Orders.