Business: Regulation

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 20th December 2012.

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Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what progress he has made in reducing red tape for small and medium-sized enterprises; and what progress he plans to make in 2013.

Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Business of any size is at the heart of our country's economic recovery and future prosperity. One of the central planks in our strategy for growth is reducing the burden of regulation on business.

We have already achieved a great deal in this area.

In January 2011 we introduced the One-In, One-Out rule, under which any increase in regulation must be at least matched by a reduction elsewhere. As set out in the 5th Statement of New Regulation, this has saved business around £836 million. From 1 January 2013 we move to a One-In, Two-Out rule whereby Departments must find double the savings.

We have introduced a “Micro Business Moratorium” under which no new regulations will be imposed on the smallest businesses until 2014, unless there is a special justification.

By the end of 2012, our Red Tape Challenge will have scrapped or reduced over 20% of burdensome regulations identified so far. We estimate that that will save business over £160 million a year. We are on track to identify 3,000 regulations for scrapping by the end of 2013.

Our programme of Focus on Enforcement reviews now under way will improve the enforcement of regulations and reduce associated burdens on industry. We have just launched a review of regulators' appeals processes.

We have so far engaged 611 businesses across 95 local authorities in Primary Authority partnerships—legally binding agreements that provide assured regulatory advice, ensure consistency between local authority areas and reduce duplication of inspections and paperwork. We are seeking views on the implementation of Primary Authority for several new areas of business. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill currently before Parliament would allow more firms to join the scheme.

We are working hard to reduce the impact of European legislation. We are holding the Commission to account on commitments it made in November 2011 to exempt micro-businesses from future EU legislation unless there are compelling reasons to include them. We are examining existing and forthcoming EU legislation for further opportunities to lighten the burden on small businesses. For example, agreement was reached in Brussels in March to exempt up to 1.4 million UK small businesses from certain EU accounting rules, with UK backing.

We will build on these successes in 2013. Central to this will be the implementation of the package which we announced in the autumn statement.

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