By Daniel Hunter
New protections for law-abiding businesses and further progress on Business Minister Michael Fallon’s war on pointless red tape are set out in the government’s latest six-monthly Statement of New Regulation.
The Statement published today (Wednesday) details all regulation, including EU measures, which is expected to come into force between 1 July and 31 December 2013, as well as all regulation removed including under the government’s One-in, Two-out rule and the Red Tape Challenge.
Measures creating savings for business, and expected to reduce costs by over £5 million annually include:
- Changes to Employment Tribunal rules of procedure to make the system simpler, more efficient, flexible and proportionate. The measures will make settlement agreements easier, particularly for smaller businesses. Where disputes do end in tribunal, a salary based compensation cap will promote fair and proportionate unfair dismissal awards.
- A number of measures to make Health and Safety Law less burdensome include the introduction of simplified arrangements for the reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences and the removal of employers’ strict liability for injuries to employees in the work place. First aid arrangements have been simplified by removing the requirement for the Health and Safety Executive to approve training and qualifications of appointed first-aid personnel.
- Simplification of many environmental regulations including the rationalisation of information requests to make sure regulators only collect necessary information. Guidance has also been rationalised to make environmental requirements simpler and clearer to understand. These reforms are expected to save business more than £1 billion over 10 years.
- Simplified requirements regarding vehicle ownership include the removal of a mandatory insurance check at the point of vehicle licensing, and removing the requirement to declare statutory off road notifications annually.
“We remain on course to achieve our radical ambition of reducing the cost of regulation over the course of this Parliament. This Statement details important measures that will ease unnecessary demands on small firms, alongside essential reforms that will make our economy fairer," Business Minister Michael Fallon said.
“We are now intensifying the pressure on Whitehall so new rules are only introduced as a last resort — and that any new measures benefit, not burden business. In Europe, I will intensify the fight to exempt firms from the red tape that holds them back. The EU must halt the tide of meddlesome new rules, and build on measures that help create growth.”
New regulation to strengthen businesses include a more robust, local authority administered licence regime to tackle metal theft, supporting legitimate firms and severely restricting the black market in stolen metals.
A new business-friendly EU Directive allows Member States to exempt micro businesses from time-consuming financial reporting requirements, therefore easing burdens on the very smallest companies.
And revised requirements for improved transparency of Directors’ remuneration reporting will require companies to clearly communicate what directors have been and will be paid to their shareholders.
To increase the pace of de-regulation, the government introduced the ambitious One-In, Two-Out rule in January 2013. Departments are now expected to offset any increase in the cost of regulation to business by finding deregulatory measures of at least twice the value. This month the Prime Minister appointed six heavy-hitters from the business community to work with Michael Fallon to help identify where further action is most needed to free up UK firms from EU bureaucracy.
The Statement confirms that the sum total of government deregulation between January 2011 and December 2013 has been to reduce the net annual cost to business by approaching £1 billion. New measures introduced during this period will have a net cost of around £24 million. The government remains committed to delivering an overall reduction in the costs of regulation to business over the course of this Parliament.
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