The Red Tape Challenge must move from soundbites to real action

Posted: Monday, 1 August 2011 @ 12:21
The Red Tape Challenge must move from soundbites to real action

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Although the noises coming from BIS (the Department for Business Innovation & Skills) are upbeat when it comes to the fight against Red Tape, we have yet to see real changes. I wonder how much is just noise (and distraction from the awful economic growth figures) and whether the government’s Red Tape Challenge will actually prove to be more than just a website and encouraging sound bites.

Of course, the real issue with excessive red tape comes from Europe and not the UK government. Most employment legislation, with the recent emphasis on flexible working rights, and maternity and paternity leave, originates from Europe and there is nothing the UK government can do.

When it comes to UK regulations, the government has not yet taken any decisive action. It is still inviting comment (however worthwhile that is) and has not moved on to tackling the real problems SMEs face.

The problem with red tape is not just that it is there, or the number of regulations that exist, but the cost to business of compliance and the time taken by business owners in keeping up with the regulations and implementing them. A director in a small business consumes a much greater proportion of their time in dealing with red tape than a director in a larger business, time that could be put to much better use in growing their business.

Red tape is not just an inconvenience, it is slowing down growth in the economy as a whole. Real sustained economic growth will come from the SME sector and reducing the burden of red tape on this sector must be seen as a real priority.

So I say this to Vince Cable, “Enough of the noise and asking us to comment on your websites. It’s about time we saw some real action.”

Gary Cousins
Business Solicitor

Blog by Gary Cousins
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legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it.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.

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