Factories: cut more red tape

Julian Harris
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MANUFACTURERS will today urge the government to substantially reduce the burden of regulation that weighs on the industry.

While the coalition has “shown positive ambitions” to cut red tape, it must begin “meaningful” action, factory group EEF will state.

The government will release today an update on the progress of its “one in, one out” rule, which aims to offset the cost of new regulations by cutting existing legislation.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is expected to claim that close to no additional regulatory costs have been imposed on UK firms, due to the “one in, one out” policy.

Yet regulations from the European Union are not included in the calculations, leading manufacturers to demand the UK also takes a hard-line approach in Brussels.

The coalition needs to “change a culture [in the EU] which is still reaching for the regulatory trigger as a first rather than the last option,” the EEF said.

The group is concerned about additional costs from the Pregnant Workers Directive, while the UK’s opt-out from the Working Time Directive could again come under threat.

And more regulation from Westminster is also a concern. “In the coming months, industry will be watching closely the government’s decisions on extending the right to request flexible working, parental leave and equal pay audits to ensure that it is not adding unnecessary burdens on to business,” the EEF said.

Yet a BIS spokesperson told City A.M. that they are confident of cutting regulation.

“We recognise there’s more to be done as well, so we have the ongoing red tape challenge looking at what can be scrapped,” a spokesperson said.

“This is just one of our efforts to massively reduce the long term burden on companies. The scheme will soon report on which employment law regulations could be cut.”