Government attempts to cut red tape

The Government’s ‘red tape challenge’ provides an online platform to nominate regulations that should be simplified or removed but there are concerns that the voices of business owners are  being drowned out by other organisations and individuals.

Forum of Private Business research suggests that 84 percent of small businesses spend more time complying with legislation than they did in 2009 – leaving them with a combined annual £16.8 billion red tape bill. One in five (20 percent) Forum members surveyed, feel that the time and cost they spend on compliance has resulted in poorer business performance. In all, 18 percent believe it impacts on the motivation of employees.

Using tax professionals and other services is often seen as a solution, but the research shows that 67 percent of respondents are being forced to spend more money on external consultants to help them avoid legal pitfalls. In all, small businesses fork out £5.8 billion on such  contractors.

In the interests of small business growth and the economy, the Forum is urging owner-managers to take up the challenge, visit the Government’s website and strive for real reforms of the UK’s regulatory landscape. In addition to the red tape challenge, other regulation- busting measures include plans to change the law to help firms avoid falling foul of employment legislation and minimise costly and damaging tribunal, and to remove more than half of all Health and Safety rules and regulations, deemed unnecessary over a three-year period. ln the meantime, the best advice is to be proactive wherever possible. There are ways to ease the cost of compliance — and prevention is always better than cure.