News story

Burden of regulation is beginning to lift, say businesses

The report also states that more than half of businesses expect the burden to stay the same or decrease. Business and Enterprise Minister…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The report also states that more than half of businesses expect the burden to stay the same or decrease.

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said:

“Reducing the burden of regulation for business is at the heart of the Coalition Government’s ambition to make the UK one of best places to start and grow a business. This report suggests that businesses can now see progress, but there is clearly more to do. We are committed to this process.”

Key findings from the report:

  • 41% of businesses say that the balance of regulation is about right

  • 55% of businesses feel that the level of regulation is an obstacle to their business, but this is a reduction from a peak of 62% in 2009

  • 46% of businesses think the burden of regulation will stay the same over the next 12 months

  • One-in-nine businesses have made contact with a body or organisation to make a suggestion on improving the regulatory regime.

The fifth Business Perceptions Survey (2012), a report carried out independently for the National Audit Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) indicates that some businesses seem to be finding regulation less of an obstacle.

The survey is the first joint project delivered by the newly formed Better Regulation Delivery Office, which works alongside the Better Regulation Executive in BIS. Both organisations will use the report’s findings to guide regulatory reform activity, looking at the way regulations are designed as well as the way they are delivered.

The report supports the Primary Authority scheme, as a means for businesses to get advice, and also the extension of the scheme to include trade associations, which is part of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Apart from the reforms in the recently published Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, the Red Tape Challenge and Focus on Enforcement campaigns are also beginning to have an impact, as they continue to give businesses the opportunity to say exactly how they feel about regulations and how they are enforced.

**Notes to editors:

**1. The Business Perceptions Survey can be accessed at:

  1. This is the first time the Business Perception Survey has been published jointly by BIS and NAO.

  2. This is the fifth in a series of such surveys. The survey was not run in 2011.

  3. The Better Regulation Delivery Office, a new streamlined independent body that will ensure the voice of business is heard in regulation policy, was created on 2 April 2012 (and was formerly known as the Local Better Regulation Office - LBRO).

  4. The National Audit Office (NAO), in collaboration with the then Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) and the Better Regulation Executive (BRE) commissioned a survey to determine businesses’ views on the extent of the burden of regulation, both in general and in specific regulatory areas, and how that burden might be reduced. The survey on which the report is based was conducted by IFF Research in January and February 2012. It comprised 2,294 15-minute telephone interviews with senior business decision-makers.

  5. BRDO is based in central Birmingham. Its remit covers the whole of the UK and it liaises with the devolved administrations. More information can be found here:

  6. BRE has been instrumental in putting the coalition’s strategy on reducing regulation in place. These are the policies and initiatives which have been designed to:
    • bring about a steady change of culture across government, so that regulation is seen as the last resort and alternatives to regulation are first considered.
    • reduce the regulatory burden to business and civil society organisations.
  7. BIS is currently running the ‘Focus on Enforcement’ campaign which is asking business to tell us where enforcement can be improved, reduced or done differently and to discover and celebrate where it works well, so others can learn from it. More information is available at:

  8. The Government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.’ It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:
    • To create the most competitive tax system in the G20
    • To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
    • To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
    • To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.
      Work is underway across Government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the Government wants the economy to travel.
  9. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices and speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See for more information.

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation & Skills Phone




Name Joe Upton Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Phone 020 7215 5959 Fax



Published 29 June 2012