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 195.

    While cutting this red tape Mr Cameron, how about removing some of the blue cotton wool that is wrapped around large corporations and the mega rich? So they actually pay some tax, that they should be here, like average people have to do!

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    Why is the BBC not being more critical about this? You're just re-presenting the government's own propaganda for them as if it was the only point of view on the subject!

    What about this for example?:

  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    labours 50p tax does not seem to stop all the football players signing for English clubs. £300000 per wk should be 75p tax.

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    This smells of Tory free market anarchy, where anything unethical will do as long as it coins in money? Not that the risk is on the doorsteps of profiteers, very far from it. They are well elevated in far off havens, while rest of us have to crawl about in muck created by anything allowed economy? That is way UK is going under Tory free for all & it will get worse if they trick their way back in?

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    To cut red tape for small business we will see a committee set up within the Civil Service, which will result in 50 per cent of what was once called 'red tape' to be renamed 'blue tape', thus reducing the problem of red tape by 50 per cent at a stroke.

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    How about closing all the tax loopholes in the system which allow you & Gideon mates to avoid £billions?

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    Why is it always up to the comments to point out the blatantly obvious?

    Could the BBC not think of that for a change, instead of just numbly reprinting government propaganda?

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    Wow. Some really negative comments on here. Economy recovering, incomes rising again and outstripping 'no austerity initially,but now austerity' lefty France by a country mile. Come on, be happy lefty peeps.

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    No need to oppose everything. This is a Welcome move. Lets encourage good things irrespective of from whom it is coming from..

    More bureaucracy has always failed to attract business. No one wants to 100 pages of Paper works to be signed and wait patiently for 3 months to start a small business.

    Having said this removing all Red Tapes will be only a dream, as long as we are in EU.

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    I can't stand the sight or sound of Cameron and an expensive television is always in danger if I can't switch him off very quickly. To apply balance I feel the same about Blair. Two career politicians / PMs so out of touch. For the right wingers on this HYS I am in work and paid for my television with my savings - just in case you thought I was a feckless scrounger living of the state.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    Yet more worthless rhetoric from the master! talk about "all mouth and trousers". Small businesses are the backbone of this country & a lot more should be done to help them instead of wasting taxpayers money proping up corrupt dictatorships and ineffective foreign aid programmes which NEVER benefit the needy! The simpler the better! for all concerned

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    Phew this can't come soon enough. I've a container load of oven cleaner that needs shifting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    @137.Milo Minderbinder

    How does filling in Intrastat returns..."
    "Sounds like you're advocating a system that would encourage Europe wide VAT fraud!"

    Nothing to do with VAT - it's an import/export tracking system.

    "However, the HMRC rules don't appear to include a requirement to record weight"

    Wrong! Check your facts - net mass of every item is mandatory.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    "Another brick
    Easy to forget how much money the pay the exchequer in VAT, NI and Income Tax"

    Books don't attract VAT. Many other Amazon goods are shipped from Jersey or some EU state where (usually lower) VAT is paid THERE, not HERE. Moreover VAT is a tax on the consumer, not on the supplier so Amazon merely collects it on HMRC's behalf.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    160. Sacking or letting go! There is a difference. What sane business ever sacks a person unfairly! There is always a reason. Employ a 100 people but there is only enough income to pay 90 then a decision has to be made. Look at the latest stupidity from UNITE, ballot Ford for a strike over Job security? How can anyone guarantee job security. Vote Milliband and get the Unions running the Country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    Here`s an idea Cameron, get all your banking chums to start lending seeing as we bailed them out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    This is more bluster from Cameron. Allowing slacker rules will do very little for small businesses but will impact on the workers & environment

    The most important line in this article was the one from the FSB 'big business could help more by paying suppliers on time' - precisely and why not impose 30-day limits instead of the 60,90 and even 120 days.

    This is something that would REALLY help.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

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

    Then do something positive about it & do it now! I worked for a massive electronics/music company over 30yrs ago & saw them mess small businesses around for almost a year, force others to go under & even had bailiffs turn up. The accumulated interest they gained must have been immense. Bunch of deceitful parasites.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    I am a self employed person trading as a sole proprietor. I paid a much higher percentage of TAX on my profits than the likes of Amazon, Google, Apple and the super rich. It's just not fair, I don't have an offshore company I can funnel the profits through. Red tape, a level playing field is what we want.

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    I recall red tape etc being removed from the banks and look what happened to them and us !


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