Press release

Government sets hospitality food and drink businesses free from regulation

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

Plans to scrap or simplify more than 60 regulations have been announced today by Tourism Minister John Penrose.

Plans to scrap or simplify more than 60 regulations, freeing the public and businesses from overly burdensome, bureaucratic or completely redundant rules have been announced today by Tourism Minister John Penrose.

The proposals come from nearly 600 comments from the public and businesses as part of the Government’s rigorous Red Tape Challenge. They will see significant changes to legislation that will make life easier for businesses and promote personal freedoms.

The Government has launched an assault on the unnecessary regulation that holds the hospitality industry back. This includes proposals to: 

Reduce bureaucracy in licensing by making application forms simpler and, following consultation, give local areas more flexibility over late-night refreshment licensing, the process for obtaining a Temporary Event Notice (TENs) and reducing the administrative burdens on businesses with minimal alcohol sales, such as B&Bs. The Government will support responsible businesses and empower local communities to help prevent and tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder;

Scrap the regulations covering the location and design of no smoking signs;

Change regulations to make clear that properties rented out for less than four months in a year do not need Energy Performance Certificates.  Guidance will also make clear that an EPC is not required where a property is used for short term holiday lets as long as certain conditions are met; and 

Tackle excess charges for inspection of private water supplies through increased transparency.

It has also launched a major programme of improvement for food regulations that will particularly benefit smaller businesses and new entrants.  Specific measures that are being announced include:

A rationalisation of food labelling and composition regulations - reducing the number from 34 to 17 - and a new “food labelling map”, making it much easier for businesses to know the rules they need to follow;

A streamlining of food safety regulations, reducing the number of regulations from 34 to 11.    This will include the scrapping of a number of regulations where protection is provided under other legislation such as rules on arsenic, chloroform, and ungraded eggs.   Remaining legislation will be consolidated so that most food businesses will only need to look at one regulation.

The removal of unnecessary “gold plating” of European regulations that cost businesses money such as requirements on minimum hardness of bottled water and the fortification of margarine;

A consultation on requirements for child minders and groups in village halls to register separately as food businesses, including the option of removing the requirements.

Tourism Minister John Penrose, who has led the work on this part of the Red Tape Challenge, said:

“Rules and regulations grow like bindweed through industry and business, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the Hospitality, Food and Drink sectors.  Wading through bumph, filling in pointless and repetitive forms is a spirit-sapping experience which too often chokes off enterprise and endeavour.  The Red Tape Challenge has shone a spotlight on all this, and I am delighted with our progress”.

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said:
“It’s great news that more than 60 regulations in the hospitality, food and drink sector will be scrapped or simplified. This comes on top of the 160 retail regulations that will be reviewed, amended or abolished. It shows that the Red Tape Challenge is gaining momentum.”

Food and Farming Minister Jim Paice said:

“Over burdensome rules and regulations on labelling have bought confusion and needless costs to our food and drink industry for too long. We want to cut them back so they are clearer and simpler for businesses to follow without lowering any standards.”

The proposals announced today come on top of steps already taken to tackle other bits of bureaucracy.  This includes the consultation launched earlier this month for a wholesale deregulation of entertainment licensing.  The proposals are contained in a consultation paper, Regulated Entertainment.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Hospitality, Food and Drink Red Tape Challenge ran from 6 May and 2 June. The website attracted almost 600 comments and in addition we received a number of other submissions from trade bodies and other interested parties. 

  2. In total 102 pieces of regulation were considered as part of the ‘Hospitality’ theme, with 12 now set to be scrapped altogether and a further 50 being merged or simplified

  3. As a result of the Red Tape Challenge we are committed to taking forward the following:

Food Labelling and Composition

A significant rationalisation of existing food labelling and composition regulations (reducing the overall number from 34 to 17), meaning that businesses need to seek out and understand a smaller number of regulations.  A large number of individual regulations will be replaced by a single regulation to implement the new European Food Information Regulation (FIR) and Defra will also separately consolidate other regulations such as those dealing with bottled water, honey, condensed milk and casein.

Additional steps to remove “gold plating” or other pieces of red tape in this area which are no longer necessary.  Examples include requirements around statutory minimum hardness for bottled water, the fortification of margarine, and changes to enable the Jam industry to better compete with its European competitors on sugar content. 

A formal public consultation on the continuing need for mandatory fortification of bread and flour.

Additional non regulatory measures to simplify the regulatory framework for food businesses, in particular new entrant businesses and SMEs.  This package includes the development of a map of all labelling legislation relevant to a food business, a rationalisation of guidance and the better use of advice services.

Food Safety

An equivalent rationalisation of food safety regulations, reducing the number of regulations from 34 to 11.

The scrapping, subject to further work to ensure there would be no detrimental impact on public health, of the following:

Arsenic in Food Regulations Chloroform in Food Regulations Ungraded Eggs (Hygiene) Regulations Quick-frozen Foodstuffs (England) Regulations (will require agreement in Europe) Authorised Officers (Meat Inspection) Regulations Food Protection (Emergency Prohibitions) (Radioactivity in Sheep) (England) Order
  The Food Standards Agency will also consult on whether or not the current rules regarding the registration of Child Minders and groups operating in Village Halls as food businesses are appropriate.   The consultation will gather views and evidence on these issues and look at whether it is possible to remove requirements without compromising public health.

Alcohol Licensing

A redesign of the licensing forms so that the typical applicant will be asked to complete the absolute minimum. This will be done alongside the forthcoming changes arising from the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act, to limit costs to government and partners.

Following consultation, and subject to the availability of a suitable legislative vehicle, decentralise Temporary Event Notice (TEN) forms and processes giving licensing authorities the power to accept TENs according to a locally-determined form or processes. To ensure that this is less burdensome for TENs users, each LA would also be required to continue to accept TENs made according to the nationally-prescribed form and process. Additionally, to increase the number of TENs that can be used for particular premises from 12 to either 15 or 18.  These measures will build on measures in this area in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act, including steps to allow late TENs and relax statutory limits on the duration of temporary events.

Following consultation, progress with primary legislation that introduces a process whereby licensing authorities determine the parts of their areas where premises that do not sell alcohol, would require a licence to provide late night refreshment. This would replace the current default status of the provision of late night refreshment as a licensable activity.

Following consultation, progress with primary legislation that reduces licensing burdens on businesses, such as small B&Bs, that sell very small amounts of alcohol

Wider Hospitality And Tourism

Revoking smokefree sign regulations. This will mean that no-smoking signs would still be needed in all premises that are required to be smokefree, but there would no longer be requirements about what the signs have to look like or where they are to be located.  The regulations will be replaced with non-statutory guidance to promote good practice. We will develop these in conjunction with industry.

Action on Energy Performance Certificates for holiday lets. Regulations will be amended so that holiday lets intended to be used for less than 4 months in a year will not require an EPC.  In addition, DCLG guidance will be amended to make clear that an EPC is not required where holiday makers do not have exclusive use of the property during the period of their booking (in which case they will have a licence to use the property rather than being a tenant).

Action on Private Water Supplies. In response to comments regarding charging for private water supplies, the Drinking Water Inspectorate will audit local authority performance including availability of charging information.  The Chief Inspector will include information regarding which local areas are complying with provision of public information in her annual report 2012 to increase transparency. If satisfactory progress is not evident at this time then the Chief Inspector will advise Defra to amend the Private Water Supplies Regulations to enable the DWI to enforce the provision and publication of information.

The rationalisation of existing rules around weights and measures for intoxicating liquor.   In addition to measures previously announced to give greater freedom to businesses over the sizes of measures served on some alcoholic drinks, the NMO will look to scrap redundant regulations (SIs 1988/120/ 1993/2060) and explore possibilities for further consolidation.

A consultation with industry and other stakeholders on removing the statutory code of practice dealing with Noise from Ice-Cream Vans.

  1. The proposals announced today come on top of steps already taken to tackle other bits of bureaucracy.   The Government made an announcement earlier this month on Entertainment licensing, the plan being to scrap much of the Licensing Act 2003 requiring people to apply and sometimes pay for licences for many events where there is little or no risk of trouble, the Press Release can be found here.

  2. It also announced plans on Food Date labels, where under new Defra guidance, food packaging should only carry either a ‘use-by’ or ‘best-before’ date.  ‘Sell-by’ and ‘display-until’ labels used for stock rotation should be removed to avoid confusion, the Press release can be found here and here 

  3. The proposals build on the result of the first Red Tape Challenge announcement which covered the Retail theme proposals and was made on 27th July. In total 257 pieces of legislation were included and plans for reform were that 117 be scrapped; 41 to be merged or simplified and to improve the implementation of 11. More detail can be found on the outcomes of the Retail theme by clicking here.

  4. Forthcoming themes to be announced under the Red Tape Challenge are Road Transportation, Manufacturing and Equalities.

Today’s announcement involves the work of a number of different Government departments and agencies.  Media contacts are as follows:

Food Standards Agency - Beverley Cook 0207 276 8818. Drinking Water Inspectorate - Sue Pennison 0300 068 6400 Home Office - Eva Perkins 0207 035 3844 DCLG - Robert Dickinson 0303 444 1201 BIS - Aidan Steer 020 7215 5245

DCMS - Toby Sargent 020 7211 6276

Press Enquiries: 020 7211 2210
Out of hours telephone pager no: 07699 751153
Public Enquiries: 020 7211 6000