October 25, 2011

Nick Clegg cuts regulatory burden for SMEs

by Jan Harris

As part of the government’s mission to reduce red tape for small businesses, Nick Clegg has revealed plans to cap company inspections at twice a year and stop on-the-spot inspections altogether.

Speaking to small business leaders, Mr Clegg said he wanted to stop regulators “breathing down the necks of businesses”.

He suggested that it is time to find a middle group between those who want even more rules and those who want regulations scrapped altogether.

This will mean a culture change at bodies such as HMRC, the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive, placing the emphasis on making it easier for businesses to operate, not harder.

The new system of regulation will be “designed for busy, working people”, Mr Clegg said.

One of the rules that could be withdrawn under the reforms is the requirement for shops to hold a poisons licence in order to sell kitchen descaler.

To make sure that the mountain of red tape isn’t allowed to grow any further, a one-in-one-out policy for regulations has been introduced.

In addition, a Red Tape Challenge has been launched, asking ordinary people to report rules which are too complex or which overlap with other rules.

Earlier this week Mr Clegg announced plans to appoint seven new advisers to monitor Whitehall departments which are headed by Conservative ministers, including the Home Office and Health department.

The advisers are being appointed following a report which suggested that the Lib Dems are under-represented at Westminster, leaving too much power in the hands of the Conservatives.

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