By Claire West

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) welcomes the review into the performance of the Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) but is concerned this vital regulatory burden busting body will be scrapped.

FSB research shows that a third of small businesses state regulation as the biggest obstacle their business faces. The FSB has welcomed the Coalition Government’s proposals to tackle the burden of red tape, LBRO must not be scrapped but overhauled if small firms are to truly see a reduction in regulation.

The FSB believes there is a role for a body whose purpose is to support and represent small firm’s views on red tape within local authorities and drive through change.

The FSB is urging the Government to revamp the LBRO by giving it the power to cover all areas of local authority regulation and the power to:

•Enforce a regime of compulsory booked inspections.

•Guarantee all small firms are proactively directed to a single point of contact within their local authority for all regulatory matters.

•Cease routine inspections during times of national emergency areas, where possible.

•Undertake an annual Regulatory Rating Review of local government regulatory services.

John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“Creating a robust relationship between small firms and regulatory services locally should be a high priority for the Coalition Government if they are to truly deliver on their pledge to cut red tape. At the FSB we know that small businesses prefer to receive information from a local, single source and so this power should be provided locally.

“LBRO should be a key body that represents the needs and views of small businesses on red tape to local authorities to drive best practice. Yet it has never been given the true powers it needs to fulfil its role. The FSB is urging the Government not to bin the LBRO, but to revamp the body. We look forward to working with the Government in this review.”