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January 09, 2015

Red tape cuts save businesses £10 billion

Red tape cuts save businesses £10 millionThe Red Tape Challenge, the government's war on unnecessary regulation, has saved UK businesses £10 billion over the past four years.

Business minister Matthew Hancock said that a continued red tape drive could deliver £20 billion of savings by 2020, as more pointless regulations are scrapped.

Changes to red tape have been driven by input from 30,000 UK individuals and businesses. The resulting legal changes cover a wide range of areas, from employment to health and safety legislation.

Some of the biggest changes for businesses include new company law that allows thousands of small businesses more freedom to decide whether their accounts need to be audited. In addition, planning simplification is having a positive impact and new health and safety laws mean that low-risk businesses such as shops and offices no longer have to undergo unnecessary, unannounced inspections.

Other sensible changes include:

  • Pubs and village halls can now host live music events between 8am and 11pm without applying for a licence;
  • Child minders who feed children in their care no longer have to register separately as a food business;
  • Farmers no longer have to record cattle movements on a lengthy paper-based system but can use an online system instead.

Some of the more bizarre regulations that have been scrapped include the law that makes it an offence to fail to report a grey squirrel on your land.

Matthew Hancock said: “The government is the first in modern history to cut red tape and free up business to create jobs and prosperity. 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.”

Dr Adam Marshall, executive director of policy and external affairs at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The ‘one-in, two-out’ rule has dramatically slowed the flow of new business regulations from Whitehall departments. However, the job is not yet done. Government efforts to reduce red tape must continue, both here at home and in Brussels.”

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