By Maximilian Clarke

The State has no business restricting business,” Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will say later today (Tuesday) in a speech on deregulation.

Business, adds Clegg, has been stifled by Labour’s reflexive: ‘when in doubt, legislate’ approach that saw the UK’s statute books choked with a new piece of legislation every 4 hours.

Mr Clegg did stress the crucial role of some regulation, conceding that he was not a diehard libertarian opposed to all state intervention: “The Minimum Wage,” said he, “[is] there to protect low paid workers, but backed by many firms because it levels the playing field, preventing companies from undercutting each other by exploiting their own staff.

“Patenting laws: there to protect entrepreneurs.

“Carbon budgets: there to limit the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and so forcing us to invest in the low carbon industries of the future.

“But what I won’t abide is reams of unnecessary red tape: complicated, expensive. Especially when the burden is so much heavier for small businesses.

“On average, for every hour someone in a big company spends on paperwork, someone in a smaller firm spends nearly nine hours.

“The typical small business owner says they are spending around a day a week complying with government regulation rather than bringing in new business. That is bad enough in the good times. It makes even less sense when times are tough.”

In order to address this, the Coalition Government have launched a series of schemes under their ‘Bonfire on Red Tape’ agenda as announced by Chancellor George Osborne during the last budget. These include the ‘Red Tape Challenge’ website which allows individual items of regulation to be examined and scrutinized by the public and by business.

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