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Business red tape: cuts and new regulations

Published twice a year, the Government’s Statement of New Regulations details all regulations – including EU measures – due to come into effect over the following six months. As part of the Government’s ongoing drive to reduce the red tape burden on businesses, July’s statement introduces 11 measures: five de-regulatory measures; three new measures which are likely to cost businesses; and three of which will be zero-cost.

Key measures affecting businesses include:

  • Building and planning regulations: increased regulation for compulsory consultations between wind farm developers and communities and the introduction of the most up-to-date radon mapping. There are measures to make the planning appeals process faster and measures to ensure the smoother installation of 4G networks for providers
  • Employment tribunals: simplification of procedures to make tribunals more efficient, flexible and proportionate for small businesses. Includes making settlements easier and the introduction of a salary-based compensation cap
  • Health and safety: simplified reporting processes for injuries and removal of employers’ strict liability for employee injuries
  • Vehicle regulations: simplification of requirements regarding vehicle ownership, insurance checks and removal of annual statutory off road notifications
  • Environmental regulations: simplifying requirements to make them easier to understand and rationalising information requests for regulators. Estimated to save businesses more than £1 billion over 10 years.

Despite the reduction in regulations as claimed by the Government, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) revealed that SMEs are spending substantially more on compliance costs compared with two years ago. The total annual cost of compliance for SMEs now stands at £18.2 billion – an 8.5 per cent increase compared to 2011. According to the FPB, this is largely down to the introduction of the new Real Time Information system for processing PAYE.

Please get in touch if you think your businesses may be affected by any of these regulations.