Cornwall Council is to examine how the complex licensing system in England can be simplified after being awarded a grant from the Better Regulation Delivery Office.
The pathfinder project, the only one in England, will explore the possibility of creating a new licensing blueprint, with the aim of creating a single business licence.
At the moment, businesses have to apply to their local authority for a variety of licences. The aim of this project is to examine what changes councils need to make for it to be possible for a single business licence to be issued on a licence-for-life basis. This would simplify the process of setting up businesses and make it easier for businesses to work with councils.
Business minister Matthew Hancock said: “This Government is ripping out the red tape that holds firms back. We’ve scrapped over 1,000 regulations, saving firms £1.5 billion and we’re on track to be the first government in modern history to leave office with fewer regulations than when we came in.
“I am delighted that a simplified licensing system is being examined by Cornwall County Council; this would help free businesses from unnecessary bureaucracy and enable them to focus on creating growth and jobs.”
The grant will give Cornwall Council the opportunity to map out existing licensing workflows and understand what changes would be needed to deliver the objective of a single business licence.
Various services within Cornwall Council issue around 8,000 to 10,000 business authorisations a year. This includes services such as licensing, food and health and safety, environmental protection, street works, housing, Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service, trading standards and registration. Having to make several applications to a number of various council services can impact on the local economy and inhibit growth.
Cornwall Council head of public health and protection Allan Hampshire said: “The project is expected to take six months and will include mapping a typical set of activities for both start-up and established businesses. We will also want to work with local businesses and trade associations to better understand their needs in terms of a simplified licensing system. We will be exploring options that will work better for councils and businesses such as a single licensing application form, a council licensing single point of contact, online accessibility and flexible payment options.”