Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 4th July 2012.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel Conservative, Witham

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce the burden of regulation on small and medium-sized businesses.

Photo of Mark Prisk Mark Prisk The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

This Government have taken specific and concrete steps to reduce the burden of regulation on small and medium-sized businesses:

We have already saved SMEs £388 million by not extending the right to request time to train to businesses with fewer than 250 employees;

The display ban on tobacco, which applies to supermarkets and very large stores from April 2012, will not apply to smaller tobacco retailers until April 2015;

We are phasing implementation of pensions auto enrolment, so that small business will not need to comply until June 2015;

We have achieved agreement in Brussels exempting up to 1.4 million UK small businesses from certain EU accounting rules.

More widely, the Government introduced a three year moratorium on new domestic regulation for micro-businesses and start-ups from 1 April 2011 in order to support growth and establish a period of increased regulatory stability for the smallest businesses.

To help reduce the burden of new business regulation we have introduced the one-in, one-out rule, so that if a Department wants to introduce a new rule which generates costs for business, they must first identify a corresponding cut in regulation elsewhere with the same value.

We are running the Red Tape Challenge, a process for scrapping and simplifying existing regulations that are obsolete.

Finally, we recently launched Focus on Enforcement, to improve the impact on business of how regulations are enforced.

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