Britain's most hated business laws

Posted: Tuesday, 25 May 2010 @ 09:00

When the final Coalition Agreement was published last week, Nick Clegg announced that the government would be asking people what laws they wanted to be scrapped.

It was a manifesto pledge of both the Conservatives and Lib Dems for there to be a “one in one out” policy as far as business regulation is concerned – in other words, if a government department wants to introduce another piece of regulation, they must abolish as least as much existing regulation – and it has now become government policy.

How this will work remains to be seen (and much legislation originates in the EU where the government has little control) but I decided to take Nick Clegg at his word and asked colleagues and business contacts what their most hated business laws were.

The top five (in no particular order) are as follows:

  1. Much employment legislation and particularly the Working Time Directive that restricts employees to a 48-hour week unless they opt out. Because of the opt out, it is generally considered a voluntary code anyway, in which case, why have it?
  2. IR35 – the tax rules as to what happens when someone is deemed not to be self-employed for tax purposes. As drafted, they are confusing and uncertain and restrict the labour market. The government has already stated it will replace this with a simpler system.
  3. HIPs and Energy Performance Certificates. They are another cost placed on anyone who wants to sell or let a property, and buyers or tenants don’t generally take a blind bit of notice of the rating anyway.
  4. The need for Designated Premises Supervisors for licensed premises. It is an unnecessary piece of red tape which adds to the cost of running premises and serves no useful purpose.
  5. The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007. This involves companies taking apart four samples of each product sold, separating the packaging from the product and then reporting their findings to the Environment Agency. It is an unnecessary and very costly burden for companies who sell on many different products and who have no control over packaging.

What are your pet hates?

Gary Cousins
Business Solicitor and hater of unnecessary red-tape

For free advice on this topic please call us on 0845 003 5639.

Blog by Gary Pascual
Gary has been providing legal advice to shareholders, directors and business owners for over 25 years. Specialising in dispute resolution Gary is based in Birmingham with clients throughout the UK and overseas. View profile
Call Gary on +44 (0)121 778 3212 or by email
This blog is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.


  • There are no comments for this page - click here to be the first

Need legal advice for your business? We can help


Practical advice and legal support for company owners and directors.


In dispute with a customer or supplier? Get practical advice and support.

Your legal advisor

Your legal advisor
Board level legal advice without the costs of an in-house lawyer.

Speak to a lawyer

Speak to a lawyer
Cousins Business Law excels at demystifying potentially complex legal areas for small business owners
Simon Moore, MD Moore News Ltd

Get legal updates

Enter your email address to receive our monthly Blog Newsletter

We will keep your email safe in accordance with our privacy policy.

Get the FREE definitive guide to solving business disputes

Posts by author

Speak to a lawyer

Get legal updates

Enter your email address to receive our monthly Blog Newsletter
The Law Society