By Claire West
A Westminster committee this week responded to the FPB’s research into red tape as part of a review of Government legislation.
The FPB recently released the results of its quarterly Referendum member survey, which focused on the time and money spent by smaller businesses on complying with rules and regulations.
It found that, nationally, small and medium-sized businesses spend almost £12 billion on the forms, provisions and paperwork associated with everything from health and safety regulations to tax, employment law and environmental guidelines. On average, the research found that Britain’s smaller businesses lose around 37 hours of company time each month keeping up with their Government-imposed obligations.
The Referendum results were made available to the media, together with the views of a cross-section of FPB members who told of the impact red tape has had on them.
This week, the FPB’s findings were discussed by a Parliamentary committee set up to look into the issue of the burden regulation places on businesses.
The Regulatory Reform Committee met on Tuesday (July 7) and the FPB’s research was discussed in a section of the debate considering public perception of regulation. The Referendum findings were raised by Labour MP Judy Mallaber, who said they highlighted the general dissatisfaction with regulation faced by businesses.
In response, Ian Lucas MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business and Regulatory Reform, said that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills had taken the concerns of the FPB and its members on board.
Mr Lucas claimed that public perception of regulation was distorted and referred to World Bank figures listing Britain as the sixth best place in the world to do business. However, he emphasised the Government’s desire to improve conditions for businesses.
Commenting on the meeting, FPB Policy Representative Matt Goodman said: “It’s fantastic to see elected representatives paying attention to the concerns of small businesses.
“Our research shows that compliance with regulation continues to be burden on FPB members. It is critical that those who pass the laws understand their impact and I think the FPB’s lobbying work helps provide that insight.”
Also present at Tuesday’s meeting was Philip Rycroft, Chief Executive of the Better Regulation Executive (BRE). The BRE is a Government agency tasked with reforming and simplifying the rules and regulations affecting businesses and has worked with the FPB on several issues in recent months.