Press release

Independent watchdog confirms over £300 million additional savings to business each year from the government’s programme to cut red tape

The Regulatory Policy Committee confirms validated savings of over £300 million each year from over 50 changes in law

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The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) confirmed today that it has validated additional savings of over £300 million each year for businesses, charities and voluntary groups from over 50 changes in law as part of the government’s programme to reduce regulation. This means that the credit in the government’s account has increased from £1.2 billion to the £1.5 billion of savings each year announced by the government today.

By far the largest measure that the committee has validated was the audit exemption for small companies. The RPC confirmed the final government estimate that this will save business £305 million each year. Other measures validated by the RPC that will save business money include changes to the copyright and patents regime (£24 million each year), changes to occupational pension regulations (£11 million each year), review of gambling stake limits (£34 million each year) and extending the Primary Authority scheme (£11 million each year), giving more firms access to consistent regulatory advice and enforcement across local authority boundaries.

The RPC also validated some measures that will increase costs to business and civil society, including implementation of consumer credit regulations (£32 million each year), and right to request flexible working (£10 million each year).

Chair of the RPC, Michael Gibbons, OBE, said:

The next six months will be crucial for the government’s better regulation agenda, and in particular for ensuring that there is a validated and complete regulatory account for this Parliament.. Closing the account will require government to ensure that no major blank spaces remain for the regulation in scope of this policy.

The Regulatory Policy Committee has a vital role in ensuring any claims are robust – independent validation provides the public and stakeholders with the certainty that estimated cost savings for business and civil society are credible. The government will need to ensure that robust evidence is presented, in good time, for such validation to be possible in all significant cases.

These figures were announced as part of today’s Statement of New Regulation (SNR), which details all regulation expected to come into force between July and December 2014, as well as regulation to be removed - including under the government’s One-in, Two-out rule. This rule says that, for every pound of cost imposed on business by new regulation, government departments need to find two pounds of savings to business.

Notes to editors

The RPC is an independent non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. The Committee is formed of eight independent experts from a range of backgrounds, including business, civil society and academia, supported by a secretariat of civil servants.

We assess the quality of evidence and analysis supporting many of the regulatory changes affecting businesses and civil society organisations. We check whether central government departments’ estimated costs or savings to business, as a result of regulatory reforms, are robust. We check that government departments explain why new regulation is more appropriate than the alternative, such as voluntary codes.

The figures discussed above relate to the validated impacts of measures that have already come into force and contribute to the government’s regulatory account as it stands at the publication of the Statement of New Regulation. The figures do not relate to the forward looking measures in the 8th Statement published today, even though some cover similar policy areas or have related titles

The RPC currently helps ensure government departments consider any impacts of regulation on small businesses. Where new regulation is required, the RPC checks that the government explains how it is minimising the effects on small businesses in particular. This requires departments to provide a clear analysis of the potential impact of the proposal on smaller businesses, and the effect of proposed mitigating actions to reduce burdens.

Further information can be found through the RPC website – - including published opinions on government’s regulatory proposals, the validated costs and benefits of proposals and analysis on the impact of independent scrutiny on the quality of evidence used by government departments.

Find details on the costs and benefits of the measures included in the Statement of New Regulation here

Media contact:

Scott McAusland

Tel: 07443 506916

Published 9 July 2014