Financial News

  • 27 January 2014, 17:02

Cameron Pledges To Slash 'Crazy' Red Tape

Thousands of pages of "crazy" guidance for businesses will be cut by up to 90%, the Prime Minister has told business leaders.

Speaking at a Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) conference, David Cameron has said the coalition is planning to scrap or change more than 3,000 regulations from the "serious to the ridiculous".

Mr Cameron said that 80,000 documents of environmental guidance will be significantly slashed, including 286 pages of regulations on hedgerow maintenance and 380 pages on waste management.

Around 100 house-building standards will also be reduced to fewer than 10.

Mr Cameron says his government will be the first in modern history to have reduced the overall burden of red tape, saving more than £850m a year.

"We will scrap over-zealous rules which dictate how to use a ladder at work or what no-smoking signs must look like," he said.

"We've changed the law so that businesses are no longer automatically liable for an accident that isn't their fault.

"And the new Deregulation Bill will exempt one million self-employed people from health and safety law altogether.

"Let me just give you a few more crazy examples dreamt up in the past by Whitehall bureaucrats.

"Employees used to be able to sue their employer if they were insulted by a customer. We've changed the Equality Act to stop that.

"Shopkeepers used to need a poison licence to sell oven cleaner - we're scrapping that."

Mr Cameron says that supporting business is crucial to the coalition's long-term economic plan.

"That is why, among so many other things, I have insisted on slashing needless regulation," he said.

"This will make it easier for you to grow, to create jobs and to help give this country the long-term security we are working towards."

Mike Cherry, FSB national policy chairman, has said it is an historic moment for the FSB.

"We are delighted David Cameron will be joining us in celebrating the hardworking men and women whose businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and local communities," he said.

"Having support from the Prime Minister and policymakers from all parties is critical to ensuring small business issues are front and centre of the economic debate around rebuilding and rebalancing our economy."

But TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said the Government is attacking worker and consumer rights.

"Stripping self-employed workers of health and safety protection - when construction is riddled with bogus self-employment scams - will make injuries more likely," he said.

"And removing any obligation on employers to protect their staff from sexual and racial harassment by customers sends a very clear signal whose side the Government is on.

"The real problems facing small businesses are an economy that has been slow to recover due to austerity economics and the continuing failure of banks to lend."

At the FSB conference, Labour announced plans to follow the US lead of creating a Small Business Administration (SBA) to work across government to encourage growth.

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna†will tell the FSB: "We need government to be a better servant - and customer - of our small businesses and to make sure that entrepreneurs' voices are heard at the top table.

"A UK Small Business Administration is necessary to realising this ambition."

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