News story

Government widens fight against excessive red tape

As part of Government’s Red Tape Challenge, from today (21 September) businesses and the public are invited to go online and identify ways that…

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


As part of Government’s Red Tape Challenge, from today (21 September) businesses and the public are invited to go online and identify ways that ineffective, burdensome or unnecessary regulation adversely affects growth in the business-to-business services sector.

Using the feedback, Government will then look at ways that regulation can be improved or removed entirely from legislation - making life easier for firms working in industries such as accountancy, management consultancy, architecture and recruitment.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said:

“Reducing the number of rules and regulations that apply to business is absolutely central to the Government’s vision for Britain, removing barriers to economic growth and increasing competitiveness.

“By opening the Challenge to the wider business services community, we hope to hear from as many people as possible on whether they think a particular regulation affecting the business services sector is badly designed, implemented or simply a bad idea for their business, sector or all their clients.”

Sir Michael Snyder, Chair of the Professional and Business Services Group, said:

“The Professional and Business Services Group welcomes the focus of the Red Tape Challenge on business services, a vital part of the British economy that is responsible for millions of jobs and valuable export earnings.

“The UK needs a smart regulatory environment that provides adequate protections while minimising the burdens on businesses and individuals.

“The Red Tape Challenge offers a good opportunity for those of us with practical experience of the impact of regulations to provide useful feedback to the Government and we look forward to contributing our thoughts on improving the regulatory system.”

Business service providers and their clients are invited to give examples of how the existing regulatory regime either adversely affects or supports their operations within the business-to-business environment.

Views are also being sought on a number of the business services regulations governing the private security industry, marketing and internet privacy, and some professional qualifications in the business services sector.

The Theme forms part of Government’s ongoing effort to tackle red tape and boost growth and jobs in the economy. It follows the announcement last week by the Business Minister that Government plans to scrap or overhaul over 3,000 regulations currently on the statute book and to introduce rules so that shops, offices, pubs and clubs will no longer face burdensome health and safety inspections.

People can get involved at: [](

**Notes to editors:

**1. The Red Tape Challenge was launched by the Prime Minister in April 2011 and is systematically examining some 6,500 substantive regulations that the Government inherited with the aim of scrapping or significantly reducing as many of them as possible. It gives business and the public the chance to have their say, by theme, on the regulations that affect their everyday lives. It has also asked the public what red tape holds back Disruptive Business Models and Civil Society Organisations.

The Government announced on 10 September 2012 that at least 3,000 of the regulations examined will be scrapped or reduced. Results of the Red Tape Challenge so far include:

  • a commitment to remove hundreds of thousands of low risk businesses from health & safety inspections unless they have an incident or a poor track record;

  • legislation next month to ensure that businesses will only be held liable for civil damages in health and safety cases if they can be shown to have acted negligently, ending the current situation where businesses can automatically be liable for damages even if they were not actually negligent;

  • a radical package of employment tribunal reforms, expected to deliver £40 million of savings per year to employers, and the qualifying period for unfair dismissal has increased from one to two years;

  • planned reforms to environmental regulation to save business at least £1 billion over 5 years, while keeping important protections. Includes reducing burdensome bureaucracy with the 23.5m paper Waste Transfer Notes currently produced in the UK each year.

  • a comprehensive programme of consumer law reform, including a Consumer Bill of Rights, to scrap or improve some 12 pieces of overlapping and costly consumer legislation.

  • by October 2012, Government will have deregulated many live music performances and scrapped regulations dictating location and design of No Smoking signs.

More information on Red Tape Challenge is at [](

  1. For the purposes of the Red Tape Challenge, the ‘Business Services Theme’ is defined as covering the following areas:
  • Computer and Information Services
  • Accountancy
  • Actuarial Services
  • Management Consultancy and Market Research
  • Architectural, Technical and Engineering Services
  • Advertising and Marketing Services
  • R&D and other scientific, professional and technical activities
  • Outsourcing and Facilities Management
  • Other Managed Corporate Services, e.g. Security, HR, Recruitment
  1. Around 6,500 regulations are currently expected to undergo Red Tape Challenge scrutiny. At least 3,000 of these will be scrapped or reduced. By ‘scrapped’, we mean that regulation is completely removed from the statute book. By ‘reduced’, we mean that regulations are reduced in number (e.g. a consolidation, making the rules simpler to find and follow); and/or in terms of the burden they impose (for example: reducing who is caught by the regulation; removing domestic gold-plating of EU law; active renegotiation of EU law; simplifying requirements set by the regulation or in related guidance; or reducing the burden of inspection and enforcement arising from the regulation).

Around 1,500 of the 3,000 changes will have a measurable financial benefit for business: this does not include consolidations of regulations without any changes to the content of those regulations. The Red Tape Challenge comprises regulation of UK origin and regulation that transposes EU laws. It does not include legislation or regulations falling within the responsibilities of the devolved administrations, tax and fees legislation or national security matters.

  1. The Red Tape Challenge is also flushing out instances of burdensome EU regulation as raised by business. Government is taking these concerns to Brussels and seeking opportunities to address these issues through for example, lighter regimes or micro exemptions. The Government strongly welcomes the European Commission’s commitment in November last year to examine the stock of existing EU legislation to identify the scope for further exemptions and lighter regimes for micro-businesses.

  2. As a result of Professor Lofstedt’s report and the Red Tape Challenge, Government has already announced that it will: scrap or improve 85 per cent of health & safety regulations; make legal changes to help tackle the health & safety ‘compensation culture’ (e.g. on ‘no win, no fee’ cases); and free from health & safety law around 1 million self-employed people whose work poses no harm to others.

  3. About the Professional and Business Services Group

The Professional and Business Services Group is an independent advisory group which works closely with the Government of the day to provide an authoritative voice for the largest industry sector in the UK. Professional and business services account for 13 per cent of UK output and total employment. It recently published a report, “Seizing the Opportunities for Growth”, which expressed support for the Red Tape Challenge.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 Andy Aston Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation & Skills Phone 0207 215 6963 Fax



Published 21 September 2012