Small firms set to get a break from red tape

Tim Wallace
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FIRMS with up to 50 staff will soon be exempt from the most troublesome new red tape as the government yesterday expanded the scheme to cover more businesses.

Any new regulation will not cover small firms if it is deemed to place a disproportionate burden on them, holding back growth, the Department for Business Innovation and Growth (BIS) said.

And if the rules are absolutely essential, SMEs will be given extra time to comply.

The freeze initially covered those with under 10 employees, but has been expanded to cut businesses’ costs and encourage them to grow.

It points to previous successes of the scheme, for example exempting those with under 250 staff from the right to request time to train, a move which saved firms £388m.

“We all want faster growth. As Britain recovers, small businesses are leading the generation of ideas, the creation of new jobs and the shift towards a balanced economy,” said business minister Michael Fallon.

“We cannot afford to hold them back with more rules and regulations.”

Business groups welcomed the plan.

“Regulation disproportionately affects smaller businesses which lack specialist resources to manage it, so this extension to the moratorium will help free up more of these firms to focus on growth,” said Hayley Conboy from the Confederation of British Industry.