Cameron pledges to cut red tape for small business


Prime Minister David Cameron gave examples of the "pointless" regulations that are being scrapped

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Thousands of rules affecting business are to be scrapped or amended, David Cameron has told a Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) conference.

More than 3,000 rules will be dropped or changed, saving more than £850m a year, he told the FSB.

They include 640 pages of cattle movement guidance, 286 pages of hedgerow regulations and 380 pages of waste management rules.

Mr Cameron said he wanted to "get out of the way of small business success."

His government would be the first in history to end a term in office with less regulation on the statute books than when it came into power, he said.

Cutting the country's deficit, reducing taxes and freezing fuel duty was part of the government's "clear long-term economic plan", he added.

Start Quote

The UK's large businesses need to play their part too in supporting ambitious small businesses, for example through paying their smaller suppliers promptly”

End Quote Mike Cherry FSB policy chairman

Reducing red tape, cutting business rates, and scrapping the jobs tax from April 2015 were ways the government was supporting small businesses, said Mr Cameron.

"We need to be a country that celebrates enterprise and backs risk takers," he said.

'Red Tape Challenge'

Citing some regulations he thought should go, Mr Cameron said: "If you want to sell oven cleaner in this country you need to have a poison licence."

Other reforms that have been or will be implemented under the government's Red Tape Challenge include:

  • Environment: new guidance on contaminated land and hazardous waste
  • Food labelling: regulations to be reduced from 30 to 17
  • Road transport: 142 regulations "scrapped or improved" - 36 million vehicles will no longer need a paper tax disc
  • Aviation: 48 out of 83 regulations "scrapped or improved"
  • Health and safety: "at least one million self-employed" removed from health and safety regulation, and more than 100,000 "low-risk businesses" exempt from inspections
  • Housebuilding: 100 "overlapping and confusing standards" applied to new homes reduced "to less than 10" - estimated saving £64m.

The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) will have slashed 80,000 pages of environmental guidance by March 2015, saving businesses around £100m per year, the government said.

While business organisations broadly welcomed the government's initiative, environmental groups were more sceptical.

A vintage retailer explains why he started his own company, as the FSB explains what measures David Cameron should support

"The Government must stop making the environment a scapegoat for the economic challenges we face," said Craig Bennett, policy and campaigns director for Friends of the Earth.

"Important rules that safeguard our health and environment are being lost in this ideologically-driven war on red-tape."

Engine for growth

Other proposed measures for small businesses include a £1.1bn package of business rates relief, £100m of broadband vouchers to help businesses get online, and up to £2,000 each in growth funding for 20,000 small businesses.

The FSB said that big business could help more by paying suppliers on time.

Mike Cherry, the FSB's policy chairman, said he wanted the conference to help set the agenda for a sector that is frequently portrayed as an engine for growth, skills, and economic recovery.

"The government must focus on how they can support these businesses in job creation and growth while the UK's large businesses need to play their part, too, in supporting ambitious small businesses, for example, through paying their smaller suppliers promptly," he said.

Despite multiple support schemes for small firms, research suggested only limited take-up or support. The FSB has called the current system "congested and confusing", pointing to the US as a better model.

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna: "We're committed to introducing a British investment bank"

The US Small Business Administration (SBA), part of government, has a large budget, long-term strategy, and influence at the centre of power, Mr Cherry said.

"The UK government should look at whether an institution built along the principles of the US SBA is needed - bringing together business support, export guidance, public procurement, and other small business functions into one place, providing a powerful small business voice within government."

'Seat at the table'

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said that Labour would create an SBA to support small firms in their dealings with government departments.

Karen Mills, former head of the SBA and a former member of President Barack Obama's cabinet, will address the conference.

She said: "As governments look to the future, their plans have to be centred on growth, and the primary currency should be well-paying jobs.

"With that, any conversation focused on jobs must include small business and entrepreneurship."

She added: "When small business has a seat at the table, we can more effectively focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, which are critical components to a strong economic game plan in today's world."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    148.ToryLies said: "Deregulation means a quicker movement of public money into private hands. We are being robbed."

    And there lies the problem. The leftwing belief that its public money to begin with. If an SME saves money (and becomes more profitable), it doesn't rob anyone. They will pay more tax and possibly employ more.

    Or they can take the profit. Either way, no one is robbed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    Thanks for this website, allows me to vent frustration, mr cameron do something for the flood hit people of somerset and stop being so tight fisted and help the vulnerable and needy elderly instead of hiding behind these childlike smokescreens.You are doing the same as labour did, they gave too much you are taking too much, it will take time but the majority will eventually see through you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    Cameron is far from Libertarian. Just a New Age Tory careerist desperate to win votes.
    And all this talk of losing consumer protections is in the minds of people who have never endeavoured to run a business. Big players are often the chief beneficiaries of overregulation, entrenching as it can their market dominance. Judge repeals on individual merit, don't damn all out of principle.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    @161. Cynical Dave

    But is isn't the rules that make it hard for businesses, it's the fact that they have to pay a fortune in taxes to exist, whilst all the multi-nationals bully them from the market place.

    I remember when the high-street used to be covered in independently owned coffee shops, they're few and far between now! And so are taxes that should be paid for the coffee!

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    Presumably this will be as successful as the bonfire of the quangoes, which seems to have given us even more and now costs more?

    The majority of HYS posters seem to think that all red tape is good and helpful, it isn't. Most of it is completely bonkers and associated with gathering of stats on exports etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    Bet he will not stop the VAT scandal around small firms I worked for someone who used to claim VAT back on everything even buying from a trade store for his daughters deli (she was not VAT reg) he got away with it by pretending to have a canteen in his factory even had a VAT inspection which they did not notice there wasn't one Even had factory heating delivered to his house next door Tory voter

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    David Cameron is a liar

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    Here is some more nonsense
    Getting rid of red tape
    We don’t make any money out of selling petrol
    My only responsibility is to the share holders
    If we have shale gas it will be cheaper
    Only Labour run up national debt
    Unions are bad
    CBI is good
    Only private companies run things best
    Only Ed Miliband is unelectable
    Labour always runs a deficit

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    And wait till the EU tell you, no way Jose"

    obviously not as Cameron does not appear to be saying "I'd love to abolish these 3000 rules on small businesses but the EU won't let me". The remit of the EU is way overstated. The "75% of laws originating in Brussels" is demonstrable nonsense (less than 7%) and the track record of UK civil servants embellishing them is notorious.

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    Hmmmm he still hasn't promised to cut back on pointless politicians, namely himself.

    More "elect me next year" propoganda from the world's slickest snake oil salesman

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    Financial rescue to date has been win-lose proposition(s). Main Street is losing - sacrificed on altar of Wall Street/London Financial. Budget crises? A. Cut libraries, schools, police forces, & raise taxes on income & sales. Innovative answer: sales tax on exotic financial products responsible for precipitating/maintaining economic crisis = level the playing field.
    Implement FTT.

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    Risk Takers?? Small business entrepreneurs released on population without proper regulation sounds like license for yet more private sector chaos? There are all sorts of dodgy small business operating from run down industrial sites. Local authority having to move in to stop dangerous practice. Not just dangerous for employees but also contaminated products? Rules are there for very good reasons

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    Scrapping Hedgerow Regulations... oh that will be so fat cat property developers can ride rough shod across the green belt making money for themselves and building expensive homes for their rich mates to live in.

    No need for cattle movement restrictions, all the super markets are too busy selling us Horse Meat these days.. and those pesky badgers will have killed off all the Cows before long

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    Regulations are usually there for a reason. I'd like to know what will go wrong if the regulations are cut. If waste management regulations are cut, will we see a return of companies dumping waste in rivers, for example? When the US cut banking regulations a few years ago, the result was the banking crisis and a worldwide slump.

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    Surprised at the number of comments opposed to this. Simpler rules are invariably better than complicated rules.

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    ah yes that pesky red tape about not sacking workers unfairly and offering their jobs back at a reduced rate of pay or paying compensation when you injure them or that evil health and safety nonsense that workers seem so keen on , yes a return to Victorian worker slavery with no voice and if unemployed no vote , nasty party

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    If multinationals and big business choose to pay their taxes abroad and or operate from tax havens there is nothing DC or anyone can do about it. This is a global world and has a global economy. We just have to live with it

  • rate this

    Comment number 158.

    For 'cutting red tape' read: less regulation, less transparency and less accountability.

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    Lots of pledges.

    No action.

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    Action Dave, not words

    And wait till the EU tell you, no way Jose


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