SMEs Get Chance to Question Unpopular Laws

Small-business owners can voice their opinions on which business regulations they would like to see scrapped, following the launch of the Government’s Your Freedom website.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the Your Freedom website had been launched to give the public a chance to restore lost civil liberties and strip away excessive regulation on businesses.

“What I find especially exciting about this project is that now we have got the ball rolling, the debate is totally out of the government’s control. So be demanding about your liberty, be insistent about your rights. This is about your freedom, and this is your chance to have your say.”

The Your Freedom site is divided into three main sections —

  1. restoring civil liberties
  2. repealing unnecessary laws, and
  3. cutting business and third sector regulations

— where registered users can submit suggestions on which laws they think should be removed, as well as rating other users’ proposals. Relevant government departments will respond to the most popular workable ideas.

Responding to concerns that the Government wouldn’t act on people’s feedback a Cabinet Office spokesman said:

“We can’t respond to everyone, but all comments will be seriously considered by the Government departments, and the individuals who submit the best ideas will be contacted by ministers.”

Both the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) have backed the website.

BCC policy adviser, Abigail Morris, said that it had the potential to reduce the regulatory burden, but only if the suggestions were well-researched. “Businesses should make sure they are including all the relevant information with their suggestions to back them up,” she said. “We suggest that businesses send comments to us via our website, so that we can research it and build up a bank of opinion before putting it forward.”

Committee to slash red tape

The Government has also set up a new Cabinet committee to cut the amount of red tape that small firms face. The Reducing Regulation Committee will scrutinise all legislation from the previous Government which is due to come in this October. It also has the power to send burdensome red tape back to government departments. 

“We need businesses to drive the growth our economy needs, not to be tied up with form-filling, and the Government is determined to do all it can to make that happen,”

said Committee chairman, Vince Cable.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills added:

“The committee will also be in charge of monitoring the ‘one-in, one-out rule’, which means any new regulatory cost is balanced by cutting out another, more costly law. It’s a complete culture change, and it will benefit businesses as introducing more regulation will no longer be seen as the only way to solve problems.”

The BCC’s Abigail Morris said the committee should improve the situation for small firms.

“It shows the Government is clearly putting regulation at the top of its agenda and thinking more about the impact on business. It also means that firms can hold the Government to account.”

SMEs Get Chance to Question Unpopular Laws

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