By Daniel Hunter

Business Minister Michael Fallon today (Friday) launched two consultations to re-shape the way regulators work with business, so that upholding standards does not act as a barrier to growth and enterprise.

Businesses and regulators are invited to contribute to the development of a proposed 'growth duty' for regulators - which will require regulators to take into account the impact of their activities on the economic prospects of firms they regulate.

A parallel consultation will seek views on an updated Regulators’ Code - which removes uncertainty for businesses by clarifying what they can expect from those that regulate them, including accessible advice and methods of enforcement that are tailored to meet the needs of the business.

There are more than fifty non-economic regulators, with a combined budget of approximately £4 billion and 55,000 employees. The proposed ‘growth duty’ will ensure that enforcement activity of these regulators, including the Health and Safety Executive, Environment Agency and Highways Agency, imposes minimum burdens that could hold businesses back, while upholding the highest standards of public protection.

The Regulators’ Code will replace the existing Regulators’ Compliance Code. It will set a clearer framework for how regulation is delivered, and establish what businesses can expect from regulators. This includes advice and other support for compliance, timely responses to stakeholder concerns, clear processes for setting fees and charges and a high standard of professional competency in inspectors and other officers.

“Regulators have a vital role in protecting the public and creating a level playing field for competition, but red tape should never restrain hard-pressed businesses that play by the rules from growing and creating jobs," Business Minister Michael Fallon said.

“The quality of information, guidance and enforcement delivered by regulators directly affects the ability of a business to grow and succeed. So I’m inviting firms to help us craft a new settlement that supports enterprise without compromising standards.”

Government action on red tape — including through the Red Tape Challenge and tough Whitehall rules that demand all new regulation is offset by ambitious cuts in costs to business - is already expected to save business around £1 billion. Michael Fallon has pledged to build on this success by re-doubling government efforts to reduce the burdens placed on business by unnecessary bureaucracy.

The six-week growth duty consultation will close on 19 April. The eight-week regulators’ code consultation will close on 03 May. For more information, or to contribute, businesses are invited to visit: http://www.bis.gov.uk/brdo/publications

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