Is the government doing enough to remove the burden of regulation on UK businesses?


Priti Patel

The government is already using its Red Tape Challenge to identify burdens that need amending or scrapping. Business should be confident that, before the next election, thousands of regulations will be scrapped or amended. The appointment of Michael Fallon to the Department for Business is a positive step. He will help to unleash a wave of regulatory cuts and supply-side reforms. Fulfilling pledges to change employment laws to make hiring and dismissing staff less costly, and axing nanny-state health and safety laws, will go a long way to help businesses to grow. In particular, reform will help small and medium-sized businesses, who support two-thirds of jobs. While we would all like the government to move faster, Conservative ministers have to untangle the labyrinth of red tape from Brussels and bureaucracy left behind by Labour’s top-down approach. But progress is now being made.

Priti Patel is Conservative MP for Witham.


Alexander Ehmann

New business minister Michael Fallon says he’s the man to re-light the bonfire of regulations. Business will be crossing its fingers because, much like this year’s summer, this government’s bonfire has had a soggy 2012. The Prime Minister said that his government would be the first “to leave office having reduced the overall burden of regulation, rather than increasing it.” Yet the government’s own Statement of New Regulation shows that it is within a whisker of having increased the burdens on business. Fallon must press for a rethink of some sizeable government proposals, like plans to increase parental leave allowances, and to look again at plans for the regulation of lobbyists, plain packaging of tobacco and minimum prices for alcohol. These are thorny issues, but with Fallon’s hotline to Downing Street, perhaps he has a stronger chance than most.

Alexander Ehmann is Head of Regulatory Affairs at the Institute of Directors.