CBI calls on government to cut red tape and regulation

The CBI has called on the government to match the Dutch authorities’ bold commitment to cutting red tape and regulation – on the day that a raft of revised and new rules came into force.

Regulations introduced on Saturday October 1 2005include changes aimed at simplifying weights and measures legislation in relation to food; changes aimed at simplifying the law on packaged goods; new audit requirements for larger companies under the Companies Act 2004; updates to the Sex Discrimination Act and Equal Pay Act to implement the Equal Treatment Directive; and updates to the patents system.

John Cridland, deputy director-general of CBI, says: “Businesses always judge the government’s words on reducing regulation and red tape by what they experience on the ground, so the implementation of revised and new rules from today will be another test of its better regulation credentials.

“The government has undeniably taken steps in recent weeks to get the wheels in motion, not least the launch of a project to measure for the first time the total cost of regulation to businesses. And with the Pre-Budget report due next month, we will be reminding the chancellor of his pledge to report in detail on this costing exercise in next Spring’s Budget.

“But identifying the costs to business is one thing – actually reducing them is entirely another. So we will be looking for a commitment that the government will at least match the Dutch authorities’ bold pledge to reduce these costs by a quarter within four years.

“We also need to see action at an EU level, where half the new regulations affecting our firms originate, and we hope the European Commission’s publication of a list of planned legislation that could be revised or dropped indicates a genuine policy shift in Brussels. Again, it will be implementation that counts – action to head off the competitive threat from the proposed agency temps and REACH chemicals Directives would prove the Commission’s resolve.

“Firms welcome the government’s renewed pledges on red tape but they won’t believe them until they see real change in their daily business lives.”