Lloyds yet to see cut in red tape for SMEs

BANKS have yet to see any progress on the government’s deregulation agenda for small businesses, according to the chairman of Lloyds Banking Group.

During a fringe event of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Sir Win Bischoff (pictured) was asked whether he has seen an impact from government initiatives aimed at reducing red tape, like the “one in, one out” rule for regulations.

“No,” he said. “I'm sure there is a great deal happening or promised to happen but we don’t yet see it. We see from our small enterprise customers that regulation is still a terrible burden.”

Bischoff also warned that additional regulation risks taking the country in the opposite direction: “It’s essential that the future competitiveness of the UK is preserved,” he said.

In response, enterprise minister Mark Prisk compared the Whitehall apparatus to a “tanker” that the government has had trouble in turning around.

He claimed the government is beholden to agreements struck before the election that enshrine regulation. Referring to the Agency Workers’ Directive deal reached between the CBI and TUC, he asked:

“Do we try and tinker with a directive that we’re not comfortable with and then make it a lot worse?”