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3,000 Regulations To Be Reformed Or Slashed

Michael Fallon and Ken Clarke set out how the government is increasing the pace of the government’s drive to cut red tape

Published on 28 January 2014

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by The Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP and The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP


London, England

Cabinet Office
Cabinet Office

Ministers promise further action to remove obstacles to growth.

Business Minister Michael Fallon and Cabinet Office Minister Ken Clarke today (27 January 2014) set out how the government is increasing the pace of the government’s drive to cut red tape, abolishing or improving outdated, burdensome or over-complicated regulations which waste businesses’ time and money.

The commitment follows Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement today that more than 3,000 regulations have been identified for scrapping or improvement through the Red Tape Challenge since 2011, and that the government will be the first to reduce the overall burden of domestic regulation.

More than 800 regulations have already been abolished or improved, including major reforms to employment and health and safety law and simplification of environmental legislation, giving businesses more freedom to grow. The government intends to implement the remainder of the reforms in this Parliament, prioritising those of most help to business.

Data released today shows that Red Tape Challenge – which asks businesses and the public themselves to identify the rules that hold them back – is already saving firms some £300 million per annum, and is expected to deliver business savings of over £850 million a year once all measures are implemented.

Further cuts to red tape being announced today include:

  • helping house builders by cutting down 100 overlapping and confusing standards applied by councils to new homes to less than 10. Any necessary remaining standards will be consolidated as far as possible into Building Regulations to avoid duplication and confusion. We aim to make significant progress on this over the rest of this Parliament. The reforms are estimated to save around £60 million per year for home builders
  • making it vastly easier and cheaper for businesses to meet environmental obligations - by March 2015 Defra will make environmental guidance simpler, quicker and clearer to understand, reducing 100,000 pages of environmental guidance by over 80% and potentially saving business and others £100 million per year
  • eliminating millions of pieces of unnecessary paperwork to record waste management. Environmental regulations require all businesses to have a paper-based audit trail for any waste they produce, carry, keep, import or dispose of to show that they have passed their waste over to an authorised recipient. The Environment Agency are this week replacing this with an electronic system, eliminating the need for 23.5 million paper Waste Transfer Notes each year & from 2015 all 2.1 million small companies will be able to file their company accounts to Companies House and HMRCand annual return information once easily online at the same time
  • too many people think that you can’t use a ladder at work: new Health and Safety guidance published this week will make clear that you can, helping the 10 million people who work at height in this country

The Deregulation Bill, introduced to Parliament on the 23 January 2014, will reinforce the government’s war on the unnecessary bureaucracy that costs British businesses millions, slows down public services and hinders millions of individuals in their daily lives.

The Bill will remove at least one million self-employed people from Heath and Safety regulation, impose a new ‘growth duty’ on regulators and reduce alcohol licensing burdens.

Minister for Business Michael Fallon said:

"Changing the culture of government, stripping away obsolete or restrictive rules and getting regulators to put growth first is not an overnight task. But the excellent progress we’ve made shows the government is on track to be the first to reduce, not expand, the rulebook for business.

"The Red Tape Challenge is effective because it responds to those with day-to-day experience of running or working for a business. It has already scrutinised over 5,600 regulations which have an impact on businesses, and we’ll remove or slim down 3,000 of those.

"We are determined to increase the scale and pace of progress on the better regulation agenda – at home and in Europe. On my watch, the government will continue to support our job creators and put enterprise before bureaucracy every time."

Minister without Portfolio Ken Clarke said:

"If it is effectively to protect the interests of consumers and the safety of the public, regulation must be sensible and proportionate. But in many areas in recent years, we have seen red tape grow out of all proportion, surpassing what is necessary and costing businesses and public services millions.

"By building on the vital work of the Red Tape Challenge team and removing some of this unnecessary red tape, the Deregulation Bill makes an important contribution to reducing costs and time-wasting burdens on managers in order to improve and unleash the potential of British businesses to compete not just domestically, but around the world."

The hundreds of Red Tape Challenge reforms introduced include:

  • giving more businesses flexibility to decide whether their accounts should be audited. One part of this package alone, the new audit exemptions for subsidiaries, is estimated to save over £60 million per year
  • new rules to enable ‘pioneer’ lane rental schemes, providing incentives for works on the busiest roads to be done at off-peak times and estimated to save business over £27 million per year.
  • helping over 1 million businesses so far from wasting time over-complying with health and safety law through the Health and Safety Executive’s myth busting Challenge Panel
  • changes to collective redundancy rules mean that businesses can restructure more effectively whilst ensuring that employees have access to good quality consultations, saving businesses £66.43 million a year in administrative costs

Michael Fallon continues to lead a cross-government drive for less but better regulation, including through the 1-in, 2-out rule, which stipulates that Whitehall departments must offset any new regulatory requirements with savings to business worth at least double their cost.

The government is working with the business community and partners across Europe to reduce regulatory burdens stemming from the EU. In October 2013, a business-led taskforce on EU red tape commissioned by the Prime Minister issued a report setting out more than 30 EU rules, including on chemicals, waste disposal and employment regulations for small firms, which should be overhauled or abolished to promote growth.

The government is also on track to reduce costs to business of tax administration by £250 million by March 2015. Digital is transforming business tax services. VAT and corporation tax is online, as is registering the main types of taxes; and we are also modernising PAYE through digital real-time reporting. Working with private sector providers, we have developed record-keeping apps to help businesses keep an easy record of their expenditure; and we’re shortly rolling out our new digital tax account for businesses - a single account which brings into 1 place everything needed to deal with business tax affairs.


For more information about this press release including Editor's Notes and contact details visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/3000-regulations-to-be-reformed-or-slashed



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Posted 2014-01-28 11:36:00