Business Minister pledges to 'bin' policies harmful to SMEs

6th June 2013

The Coalition Government’s Business Minister, Michael Fallon, has pledged to bin proposals from policymakers if they hinder small firms.
 
Mr Fallon has also confirmed that small businesses with up to 50 staff will be wholly exempt from new regulations unless the rules are "essential, justified, and where disproportionate burdens are fully mitigated".
 
"We cannot afford to hold [small businesses] back with more rules and regulations. Where regulation is not fit for purpose it will be reformed or binned", added Fallon.
 
Fallon believes now is the ideal time to "change the culture of government" and new regulations are therefore a "last resort".
 
Under the new Small and Micro Business Assessment (SMBA), government departments will be forced to consider the impact new rules have on small firms.
 
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has welcomed the move, hoping it could provide a "more common sense approach to regulation".
 
Adam Marshall, director of policy for the BCC, said: "We hope that this policy will help to deliver significant reductions in regulation.
 
"Smaller companies often find it difficult to comply with regulations, compared with their larger counterparts who have more resource. If this policy directly reduces the time and money that firms spend on needless bureaucracy, then the business community will show its support."
 
The Government’s enforcement of the SMBA will be overseen by red tape watchdog, the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC). Ministers will be advised to reject policies if there is sufficient evidence they could "result in disproportionate burdens that could impede growth".
 
Some proposals may still be cleared provided exemption is granted to SMEs, potentially giving them longer to prepare for regulations, simplifying compliance or varying regulatory requirements depending on the size of the business.
 
John Allan, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), welcomed the arrival of the SMBA, hoping that SME owners will be freed from their desks to concentrate on doing what they do best.
 
"This should mean that business owners will be able to devote time to growing their business and creating jobs rather than form filling," he said.


Image: University of Salford

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