By Daniel Hunter

Hundreds of firms will benefit from more consistent enforcement of regulation and clearer advice on how to comply with the law under new plans to extend the Primary Authority scheme.

Following a consultation with business and regulators, Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon has confirmed that the government will legislate to extend Primary Authority to the following sectors:

- the age-restricted sale of gambling;
- the Housing Health and Safety Rating System;
- sunbed tanning; and
- Welsh regulations on single use carrier bag charging.

Under Primary Authority, firms forge partnerships with a single local council to ensure that regulation is consistently applied across local authority boundaries. These partnerships also help business comply with regulations by issuing assured advice, co-ordinating any enforcement action, and developing clear and practical inspection plans.

“Regulation must maintain high standards and a level playing field, but it must never impede the growth and investment plans of law-abiding businesses," Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon said.

"By eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy, Primary Authority puts the needs of business at the heart of local enforcement, saving firms time and money. This is an important part of the government’s ambitious drive for enterprise-friendly regulation.”

The extension of Primary Authority is part of a wider government commitment to end the culture of ‘tick box’ regulation, and to develop a new culture of enforcement that upholds the highest standards without burdening firms with unnecessary bureaucracy.

There are currently 2,295 Primary Authority Partnerships covering 100 local authorities, benefiting 703 businesses. The Better Regulation Delivery Office, which administers the Primary Authority scheme, will provide guidance for businesses and local authorities on how to implement the extensions.

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