Cutting Red Tape: the Government’s Progress

The Government claim progress on cutting red tape for businesses. They have provided the ticker, right, which gives a running update of the red tape scrapped.

Under the previous Government, the equivalent of six new regulations every working day were passed, or over 1,500 in a year. In 2011, the Government cut that flow to 89 measures of which just 19 imposed any cost to business. In addition the Government have:

  • Capped the cost of new regulations, through the One In One Out system;
  • Identified 887 regulations to scrap or substantially overhaul through the Red Tape Challenge, with more to come;
  • Exempted small firms from implementing pension automatic enrolment, saving them up to £3 billion pa in total;
  • Agreed to exempt 1m self employed people from disproportionate workplace regulations;
  • Identified savings of £1 billion for business over the next five years, by overhauling environmental red tape;
  • Reformed employment tribunals, helping small employers and saving business £40m every year;
  • Scrapped plans to extend training regulations, saving SMEs £390m pa; and
  • Implemented Whitehall guidance to end the routine gold plating of EU regulations.

This is a great start but I know a number of economists capable of reeling off a long list of substantial new interventions, particularly in relation to energy policy. Right now, it looks like the Government has made progress in the task of operating New Labour’s “third way” more efficiently. I feel sure we would all be more prosperous if we implemented a sincere commitment to social cooperation through commerce: that is, if we let the market work.

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