Posted by

Lord Curry, Non-Executive Chair of the Better Regulation Executive

26 Jun 2014

From the butcher that used the money saved from joining the Primary Authority scheme to take on new employees, through to our latest survey results – business are telling us that the regulatory environment is getting better.

This week, the Government continued its drive to reduce regulatory red tape for small businesses by publishing legislation that commits us to continuing to reduce burdens, enabling you to keep on growing your business.

As the Non-Executive Chair of the Government’s Better Regulation Executive (BRE), I am proud of the robust framework that we have put in place to reduce regulatory burdens and make compliance easier. From successfully challenging the regulate-first culture in Westminster through to demanding regulators to come up with solutions to your problems, we have spent the past 4 years cutting red tape.

Earlier this year, BRE and the National Audit Office surveyed 2,500 businesses about their views on regulation. Since 2010, the number of businesses who think that regulation is an obstacle to growth has fallen from 59% to 51%. Only 1 out of 10 think complying with regulation is the greatest challenge for their business.

Despite improvements, many businesses we’ve spoken to are not aware of the extent of Government’s efforts to cut red tape.  Worryingly, our recent survey findings show that over 80% of businesses think the burden of regulation will stay the same or increase in the next 12 months. That is why we are keen to pin successive governments to a continued culture of reducing regulatory burdens on business.

To do this we are legislating. Through measures announced in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill we will enshrine our robust and transparent framework in the statute:

  • We will introduce a Deregulation Target, which builds on our current One-in, Two-out rule. This will require future Governments to publish a target for cutting regulatory burdens in each parliamentary term. The government will transparently report against this, to give you confidence that progress is being made.
  • To tackle Government’s poor track record of checking whether existing regulations are effective, all new regulations affecting business will contain a statutory review provision – except where a review is not appropriate. This will keep up the momentum of the Red Tape Challenge, ensuring out-dated, ineffective or burdensome regulation is tackled.

I also know that regulation can hit smallest firms the hardest, and they are forced to put too much effort into complying with regulation - as much as larger firms. As part of this landmark Bill to help small business, we are taking specific action to improve the regulatory environment for small firms:

  • To help change the culture where businesses see no point in appealing regulators’ decisions, we will introduce an independent Small Business Appeals Champion into each non-economic regulator (such as the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency). These people will ensure complaints and appeals procedures are user-friendly for business, giving you a clear and easy pathway to challenge decisions if you want to.
  • We will establish a clear definition of small and micro businesses. This will make it easier to adapt new regulations to small businesses, including through exemptions, and avoid disproportionate burdens on business.

I am confident that these measures will build upon our success to reduce regulation over the past 4 years, enabling you to get on with doing business and growing the UK economy. 


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