Red Tape Challenge Focuses on Company Law

Small businesses are being called on to help cut excessive regulation in company law, as part of the Government’s on-going Red Tape Challenge.

Between now and 16 February, businesses can comment on how 120 company law regulations, guidance and enforcement processes can be amended, simplified or scrapped as part of the challenge launched by the Government in April last year (see Red Tape Challenge Tests 21,000 Regulations and 6,000 Firms Call for Red Tape Cuts)

Company law is the latest focus of the campaign, following previous spotlights on employment law, health and safety and enforcement.

Areas open for comment include rules on shares and share capital, auditing requirements of financial accounts, regulations surrounding company names and rules covering the information that companies must supply to the official register.

Business minister Edward Davey said:

“We want to have a flexible regulatory framework within company law to allow firms to compete and grow successfully. The Red Tape Challenge is a great way for the public and firms to tell us what is a nuisance or gets in the way of doing business effectively.”

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) said the Red Tape Challenge had already identified a number of archaic laws to be abolished.

But Alex Jackman, FPB senior policy adviser, said that the main cause of concern for small firms was HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the cost of compliance surrounding tax laws.

“Nobody likes to mess the tax office around, but many businesses find the tax returns so complicated that they get it wrong or have to spend cash on accountancy services,” he said.

“This is the one area where we think the Government should continue to shine a spotlight, particularly as the fines HMRC issue for mistakes are so hefty and can cost firms a small fortune when they get it wrong.”

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