SMEs feel nonplussed by government's red tape initiative

17th February 2014

The vast majority of the UK’s small businesses feel the Government’s three-year campaign to cut red tape has had little or no impact, according to research by business information group, Croner.
More than half (52 per cent) of companies surveyed in their study said the measures have had no impact on their business, while a further 41 per cent were unclear what impact the campaign was having.
Richard Smith, head of product and strategy at Croner, felt the study’s findings mirrored what many of his clients had been saying about the initiative.
“There hasn’t been the bonfire of regulations that the Government promised,” said Smith.
“Many of the reductions are in areas that touch customers infrequently, or have been repackaged into consolidating legislation. That’s because much of the drive towards regulation is European Union (EU) driven and therefore there is very little that the UK Government can do to change those laws.”
According to Carol Smith, senior employment consultant at Croner, the major issue for many employers has been the implementation of new positive employment law changes.
“Since the introduction of the red tape campaign, the Government has made a number of positive employment law changes, including the introduction of tribunal fees to cut down on speculative claims.
“However, employers have been saying these have been a nightmare to implement because the Government has waited to the last minute to apply them, in turn creating more confusion for employers,” said Smith.
Meanwhile Stephen Thomas, safety technical consultant at Croner, believes that for all the talk of the removal of red tape for the UK’s SME sector, key health and safety regulations remain unaffected because they are considered to be fit for purpose by the government-commissioned Lofstedt Report.
“While the Government is strongly promoting its pro-business stance, employers who break health and safety laws are seeing an increase in fines and costs such as the Health and Safety Executive’s Fee for Intervention scheme; therefore the deregulation headlines should not be seen as a drop in workplace health and safety standards.”

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