The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called on the government to increase its focus on the reduction of business regulation. The call comes in the week that the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) announced that the government still had a long way to go in achieving its target of £10bn in cost reductions for businesses.
Indeed the FSB highlights the fact that most of the savings ‘are not genuine savings at all, but revenue generated by the new plastic bag levy.’
Now, the Federation says more clarity is needed to assess the true cost to business of red tape. “We will be talking to the Better Regulation Executive (BRE) and Ministers about how we think they should adopt the PAC’s recommendations to develop a much better understanding of the cost of regulation imposed on business,” it says.
‘Government targets fail to capture many of the day to day struggles’
Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, added, “FSB members tell us regulation is the number one issue they want this Government to focus on. As we face the challenges and opportunities of Brexit, it is vital that we bolster business productivity, and remove burdensome red tape. The Regulatory Policy Committee has an important role to play, and we want Ministers to reflect this growing role by affording it greater powers and scope.
“We support the Government’s drive to de-regulate, but we are not seeing the current full regulatory picture or evidence of changes on the ground. The Government’s Business Impact Target currently fails to capture many of the day-to-day struggles and worries of small businesses, such as taxes like the new National Living Wage. In addition, it is concerning that many government departments don’t know the cost of existing regulations.
“We want to see the Business Secretary pressing his Cabinet colleagues, celebrating those departments that ‘think small first’, and naming and shaming those that don’t. “As the new Government recalibrates its relationship with business, this agenda needs to be tackled if small business owners are to trust Government wants to make their life easier. We urge the Government to act on this report so small businesses don’t feel so overwhelmed by regulation.”