By Daniel Hunter

Business Minister Michael Fallon welcomes a boost for business as dozens of cuts to red tape come into force tomorrow (Saturday).

The reforms respond directly to issues raised by businesses, including through the Red Tape Challenge, which invites firms to give their views on which regulations should be improved or scrapped.

Simplifying the way firms use their assets to raise finance will save businesses over £21 million. Changes include moving registration and payment online and introducing a UK-wide registration system for the first time.

Deregulatory changes to building regulations are part of a wider package that will save business in total over £50 million per year, whilst ensuring buildings remain safe and sustainable. Reforms coming into force today include reducing administration on low-risk electrical works, and clearer, more consistent guidance on requirements for access to buildings, glazing and protection from falling.

The drive to simplify health and safety requirements continues with the removal of a raft of redundant or unnecessary regulations in areas including celluloid film, shipbuilding and ship repair.

Abolishing pointless regulations affecting the sale of goods will free up valuable time for retailers and give more clarity to consumers. The age at which Christmas crackers can be bought is being lowered from 16 to 12 - getting rid of heavy-handed government intervention in the sale of these harmless objects, and promoting greater personal freedom and responsibility.

Unnecessary regulations specifying the quantities of heavy metals in pencils, and redundant measures to prevent arsenic getting into food are also being abolished. Product and food safety is now covered by modern legislation, reflecting latest technological knowledge and ensuring comprehensive consumer protection.

The minimum consultation required for large-scale redundancies falls today from 90 to 45 days, giving employers greater flexibility to restructure but ensuring that meaningful consultation with staff takes place.

“Setting business free from the restrictions that hold back enterprise is a compulsory step on the road to growth. We’ve listened to firms and taken prompt action where regulation presents barriers - but there is a huge amount still to do," Business Minister Michael Fallon said.

“We will quicken the pace by launching a new phase of the Red Tape Challenge this summer, focusing on key areas for growth. And I’m keeping up the pressure across Whitehall so that government always puts business before bureaucracy.

“As well as cutting the overall burden of regulation, we are sharpening up how rules are enforced. We’ll make sure regulation works in the public interest without stifling law-abiding firms and hampering growth.”

A total of 1,500 regulations have now been identified for reform through the Red Tape Challenge - with many more still to come.

Recent measures include reducing accounting requirements for micro businesses, publishing new procedures which could halve the time for medicines to be reclassified from prescription-only to over-the-counter status and reviewing the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing scheme to ensure that it provides more effective protection for holidaymakers.

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