FTB pleads for government joined-up thinking.

FPB demands halt to regs until after the Election

Published:  19 November, 2009

CHESHIRE: The Forum of Private Businesses (FPB) is calling for a freeze in new business legislation to allow the Government to re-assess the burden of red tape. The proposed moratorium would last until the General Election, which is expected to take place in May.

With the pre-Budget Report (PBR) less than a month away, the FPB is lobbying the Government to ease regulation on small businesses after finding it costs them almost £12bn a year.

The FPB's policy representative, Matt Goodman, said that a hiatus in new small business laws during the months before the Election would be the perfect opportunity to launch the first 'Comprehensive Regulatory Review' – in the spirit of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

"The Government must ensure that regulations are proportionate to their aim," said Mr Goodman. "We want departments to get to grips with all the various aspects of the regulatory burden on businesses and a Comprehensive Regulatory Review would provide just that sort of understanding.

"We should have a better picture of what is on the books at the moment, how those regulations interact and how they are being enforced.

"By committing to a moratorium and the first Comprehensive Regulatory Review before the General Election, the Government can extend the pre-election period and use that time to make 'joined-up government' a reality."

Employment law is the costliest bureaucratic burden, costing small businesses £2.4bn a year. Health and safety administration costs £2.1bn and tax £1.8bn a year, according to the FPB's research.

The average time a month spent on employment red tape (dismissals and redundancy, discipline, absence controls and management, parental leave, and holidays) is 10 hours. For health and safety, it is eight hours. Business owners spend an average of seven hours each month on tax administration, four on building and property regulations, four on standards, three on environment and waste regulations, and one hour a month on equality and diversity.

The FPB's survey also identified a significant level of disenchantment with the current regulatory framework with just 5% of respondents believing it is beneficial to their business and only 9% believing that the current framework is fair, robust and proportionate.

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