News story

Red tape challenge kicks off

Government gives you the chance to rip up some of the 21,000 rules and regulations that are getting in your way.

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


The Government has launched a website challenging the public to help cut unnecessary regulations.

Red Tape challenge website

It will, for the first time, give the public and businesses a chance to have their say on regulations that affect their everyday lives; whether it’s to speak up for well designed rules that are there to protect or challenge badly designed or badly thought through regulations that are an unnecessary burden.

Find out about what regulations will be looked at and the sector champions.


The campaign is part of the Government’s growth agenda and will tackle the stock of more than 21,000 statutory instruments that are currently putting barriers in the way of businesses, volunteers and the public.

The first area of national life to go under the microscope will be retail. Following this, every few weeks a new set of regulations, organised around themes, will open on the website for anyone to comment on.

Once a theme has closed to the public, the Prime Minister has said in a letter to all Ministers that they will have three months to explain why a regulation is still required, or it will be scrapped.

The first five themes of the Red Tape challenge campaign will be:

  • Retail (Pilot phase open for four weeks beginning April 7).
  • Hospitality, food and drink (open for two weeks beginning May 5).
  • Road transportation (open for two weeks beginning May 19).
  • Fisheries, Marine enterprises and inland waterways (open for two weeks beginning June 2nd).
  • Manufacturing (open for two weeks beginning June 16).

The campaign will also have six cross cutting themes that affect all businesses and are open throughout the whole of the campaign. Departments will need to make comments on the cross cutting themes every four months to ensure that momentum is maintained on the campaign.

The six cross cutting themes are:

  • Employment law.
  • Pensions.
  • Company law.
  • Equalities.
  • Health and Safety.
  • Environment legislation.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“The retail sector is a key part of our economy and essential to driving private sector-led growth. It also has to deal with hundreds of different regulations covering everything from employment law and health and safety through to consumer protection and the sale of offensive weapons.

“Some of these regulations are there for good reasons, protecting employees, businesses or the public. But some, like the Indication of Prices (Beds) Order serve no purpose at all.

“That’s why this campaign is different to the de-regulation drives that have gone before. The onus is now on my fellow Ministers and I to justify a regulation, rather than on you telling us to do something about it.

“I urge you to visit the website and take a few minutes to tell us the regulations you deal with on a daily basis. This is your chance to make sure that consumers are properly protected from unscrupulous traders or give us the evidence we need to remove the unnecessary bureaucracy that stops your business from growing.”

Sector Champions

For each theme there will be an experienced ‘sector champion’. They will provide expert knowledge on the issues faced by those on the shop floor.

The champion will act as an intermediary between the sector and Government and help to direct the web-based debates and discussions.

Dr Kevin Hawkins, Sector champion for the Retail theme said:

“The moans and groans of businesses about regulation can’t and shouldn’t be ignored. By simplifying the trading environment we can free up your time to concentrate on the things that matter to your business.

“This is an opportunity for companies large and small to think hard about your business and what you would change in the regulation that plays a role in your everyday life.”

Published 7 April 2011