Posted by

Michael Fallon, Minister for Business and Enterprise

12 Feb 2014

Good regulation is a good thing. It protects consumers, employees and the environment; it provides a level playing field for honest businesses by punishing the unscrupulous.

In January we announced an important milestone: through the Red Tape Challenge - introduced to give business the opportunity to identify the most burdensome regulations - we’ve committed to scrap or improve 3,000 specific regulations. This represents around half of all the regulations directly affecting businesses, and will save £850 million per year - half a million pounds a day for every day of this Parliament.

We’ve already given businesses flexibility to decide whether their accounts should be audited, simplified the registration and payment system for company charges, scrapped unnecessary health and safety inspections for hundreds of thousands of businesses and ensured that employers are no longer liable for the harassment of staff by a third party such as a customer.

Now we will act to help house builders by cutting down 100 overlapping and confusing standards applied by councils to less than 10, assist business of all kinds by eliminating unnecessary paperwork to record waste management, and make it easier and cheaper for companies to meet environmental obligations. By reducing 100,000 pages of environmental guidance by over 80% we’ll save business £100m a year.

A Deregulation Bill has started its journey through Parliament. It will scrap health and safety rules for self-employed workers whose activities pose no risk of harm to others, exempting at least one million people from unneccesary regulation. It will place a ‘growth duty’ on non-economic regulators, giving 50 regulators a role in promoting rather than hindering economic growth.

And I’m keeping up the pressure in Europe. A business-led taskforce backed by the Prime Minister has demanded action from Brussels in 30 priority areas. We’re pressing the bureaucrats to scrap EU-wide requirements for small businesses to keep written health and safety risk assessments, abandon plans to force small businesses such as one-man gardening firms and carpenters to pay fees to register to collect and transport waste, and simplify costly and complex chemicals regulation, which threatens the competiveness of hundreds of small firms. I was there last week and with over a dozen member states’ support we are seeking to establish a new, pro-enterprise mindset in Europe.

Changing the culture of government and getting regulators to put growth first is not an overnight task. That is why we’ve established the groundbreaking One-In, Two Out rule, under which Whitehall departments must find £2 of savings for every £1 of extra cost for businesses introduced by new regulation. These costs are independently scrutinised by the Regulatory Policy Committee, and made public so that you - the businesses affected - can see how the process is working.

We will now build on this progress by continuing to work with, not against, the business community. This is an approach that governments have too often failed to honour. The government will continue to support job creators and put enterprise before bureaucracy every time


All views expressed in guest blogs are that of the authors, and not of the British Chambers of Commerce.