The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Friday Guest Blog

Chloё Brittain, Employment Solicitor at Weightmans LLP in Manchester

As part of the Coalition government’s publicised commitment of doing away with the unnecessary red tape they now want your comments.

Members of the public together with businesses are now able to access the government’s recently set up “Your Freedom” website: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/your-freedom/

On this site people can nominate what laws they think should be removed or changed. The website states “Regulations can stifle small businesses in particular, so we’re especially keen to hear from those of you in companies employing fewer than 250 people.”

In addition Vince Cable, the Business Secretary has promised that from the 1 September 2010 Ministers will not be allowed to introduce new regulations imposing costs on businesses without identifying current regulations with an equivalent cost to be removed (“One in One out”). Vince Cable stated “By ensuring regulation become a last resort, we will create an environment that frees business from the burden of red tape, helping to create the right conditions for recovery and growth in the UK economy.”

The Government has requested that the independent Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) scrutinize the proposals for the introduction of new regulations prior to policy decisions being made.

This is potentially very good news for those small businesses that have grappled over the last few years with the introduction of various regulations (largely arising out of European directives) which have, in some views restricted businesses. The government’s own figures, highlight the cumulative cost to business of new red tape since 1998 which has risen to £88.3bn. Most costly of all the laws since 1998 are Working Time Regulations, which have cost businesses a cumulative £17.8bn.

Whilst it is encouraging to note the government’s intention to make it easier for small business we will have to see how this works in practice. Many employers and businesses find themselves restricted by what can be regarded as unnecessary regulations, a large part of which derive from European directives which the UK is obliged to enact. The Working Time Regulations are a prime example of this.

However the government has promised more of a presence in Brussels during the policy process; taking strong cross-Government negotiating lines; and ending the ‘gold-plating’ of EU legislation. The RPC will also analyse proposals for implementing EU legislation to ensure that by incorporating EU laws into UK law does not put British business at a competitive disadvantage relative to other European countries.

For now it’s “ watch this space” with businesses being encouraged to get their views heard.

Weightmans LLP provides employment law advice to a range of businesses and individuals alike. Further information can be found at: http://www.weightmans.com/

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