Industry welcomes deregulation plans

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Bureaucracy weighs heavy: excessive red tape is said to be blocking wealth generation
Bureaucracy weighs heavy: excessive red tape is said to be blocking wealth generation

Related tags European union European commission

Plans to cut red tape, announced by the new Conservative government and the European Commission (EC), have been welcomed by the business community, including representatives of food and drink manufacture.

As part of the new Enterprise Bill outlined in the Queen’s Speech, the government plans to reduce bureaucracy by at least £10bn over the next five years and target independent regulators. Meanwhile, the EC has also unveiled plans to cut EU red tape.

FoodDrinkEurope, the body representing food and drink manufacturers across the EU, supported the EC’s moves to provide better regulation, but called for policy making to be made more transparent and with greater interaction with those affected by EU legislation. It also called for impact assessments to be carried out on new laws.

Two million more jobs

In the UK, the new business secretary Sajid Javid announced plans for an Enterprise Bill and new measures to support entrepreneurs and job creation, which he hoped would help create two million more jobs over the next parliament.

“As part of our long-term economic plan, we will sweep away burdensome red tape, get heavy handed regulators off firms’ backs and create a Small Business Conciliation Service to help resolve disputes,”​ said Javid. This is designed to help settle disputes between small and large firms, especially over late payment practices. The Department for Business Innovation & Skills estimates small firms are owed over £32bn in late payments.

The Bill will also extend and simplify the ‘primary authority’ scheme, which has proved important to food manufacturers and retailers with operations across the UK. The primary authority scheme allows a business to get advice on regulation from a single local council and this advice must then be respected by all other councils – reducing the time and cost to businesses of having to obey different rules.

Drag on business

Responding to Javed’s comments, Tim Thomas, head of employment policy at engineering employers body EEF, said: “Time spent on red-tape is frequently a drag on manufacturers’ business and a direct cost they don’t need.”

On the EC’s announcement, the EEF’s chief executive Terry Scuoler said: “This is a welcome step by the Commission as it seeks to tighten its grip on unnecessary red tape.

“We would like to see this go one step further with the introduction of a one-in, one-out principle, along with an annual statement of the total net cost to business of proposals brought forward, as well as a new target to reduce the burden on businesses.”

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