Red Tape Challenge Tests 21,000 Regulations

Businesses of all sizes have been called on to vote online for which regulations should be scrapped, simplified or retained, following the Government’s pledge to review 21,000 statutory instruments.

The Government is putting all 21,000 regulations “up for removal” under its Red Tape Challenge, unless there is a strong case for keeping them.

The Prime Minister has written to all government ministers saying they must “tackle regulation with vigour” to free businesses and the public from unnecessary red tape. Ministers are being made accountable for all the regulatory burdens imposed by their department.

The initiative will see regulations for different sectors being debated every few weeks. Regulations affecting retail businesses are the first on the agenda, including consumer information and protection, Sunday trading laws, and obligations around business premises.

Once the comments have been gathered for each sector, the relevant department will have three months to analyse them and decide which regulations to repeal.

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) spokesman said that the Government wants to hear as many people’s views as possible.

“We’ve been speaking to business groups, but the key purpose of this campaign is to ensure we hear from the corner shop as much as from the larger organisations. These are regulations that business owners deal with day in, day out, and they know how they affect their business. They are much better placed than officials to tell us what should be done.”

“Businesses will get a chance to have their say on whether they think a regulation is really good and gives them protection, whether they think that the idea behind it is good but it needs to be implemented differently, or whether they think they are complete nonsense and obsolete.”

Alongside the sector-specific regulations, regulations that affect a cross-section of businesses, such as employment, environmental and health and safety laws, will remain up on the site throughout the process so that businesses can comment on them at any time.

The review is due to be completed in April 2013. Businesses have two weeks to comment on the retail sector regulations from 7 April, and two weeks to comment on each of the other sectors following the dates they appear on the site.

Commenting on the launch of the red tape review, a small-business owner and stone mason said cutting regulations should not come at the expense of increased health and safety risks.

“Britain is a very safe place to work and that must be retained.”

To give feedback on the regulations under review, visit the Red Tape Challenge website

Red Tape Challenge Tests 21,000 Regulations

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