The Government recently published its draft Deregulation Bill to remove unnecessary bureaucracy.

It will amend 182 different pieces of legislation and should make savings for public bodies, businesses and individuals worth a minimum of £62 million per year. This is paltry compared to the £4 billion budget of relevant regulators, but I suppose it is better than progress in the other direction.

The Bill will:

Free business from red tape, including by:

  • Scrapping health & safety rules for self-employed workers in low risk occupations, formally exempting 800,000 people from health & safety regulation and saving business an estimated £300,000 a year;
  • Putting a deregulatory ‘growth duty’ on non-economic regulators;
  • Making the system of apprenticeships more flexible and responsive to the needs of employers and the economy, as recommended by the Richard Review; and
  • Removing employment tribunal judges’ power to issue wide recommendations to businesses brought before them.

Make life easier for individuals and civil society, including by:

  • Reducing the period for which someone has to live in their social housing to qualify for Right to Buy and Right to Acquire from five to three years, expanding their availability to a further 200,000 households;
  • Scrapping heavy-handed fines for people who make mistakes putting out their bins;
  • Deregulating “not-for-profit” film nights in village halls and community centres; and
  • Devolving decisions on public rights of way to a local level, which will cut the time for recording a right of way by several years and save almost £20m a year through needless bureaucracy.

Reduce bureaucratic requirements on public bodies, including:

  • Removing prescriptive requirements on local authorities to consult and produce various strategies, giving them more freedom from central control; and
  • Freeing schools from pointless paperwork and prescriptive central Government requirements.

The Government has also updated MPs on its progress with the Red Tape Challenge. It has identified a total of 1,910 substantive regulations to be either scrapped or reduced with a real saving to business of £212 million per year.  Some of the achievements include:

  • a package of employment tribunal reforms, expected to deliver £40 million of savings per year to employers, which should improve employment.
  • major simplification of the registration and payment system for company charges, saving businesses over £21 million.
  • the introduction of a portable Criminal Records check, which employers can view instantly online, saving the need for a new check in the majority of cases.
  • overhauling no-win, no-fee legal claims.
  • increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal to two years, saving business £4.7m.
  • introducing new incentives so that road-works on the busiest roads are done during quieter times – saving business over £27m per year.

The Government is making a sincere attempt to produce a more efficient and effective regulatory state.

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