Blair launches crusade against red tape

At a business breakfast with entrepreneurs at 10 Downing Street today, Tony Blair disclosed the government’s strategy to attract the best new business to the UK.

The prime minister announced details of a Deregulation Bill, to be part of the Queen’s speech on 6 December, aimed at cutting out all archaic and unnecessary regulations and burdens which affect business, especially small business.

Blair said the aim of the Bill was to make ‘Britain the best place in the world to start up and grow a business’. The government is planning more than 20 reform orders to cut back and simplify legislation affecting businesses.

A strategy is already in place for implementing the legislation, which includes streamlining the employment tribunal system by cutting out insubstantial claims. It is expected that business will be given the standard three-month guidance period for consultation before the implementation of the legislation.

A recent survey, however, by mid-tier accountancy firm Grant Thornton found that 1,600 owner-managers ranked red tape as one of their lesser woes. Instead the survey revealed that the main concerns of owner manager businesses centred on employment issues with 52% of the respondents judging retaining and motivating staff as of primary importance.

Moreover a study conducted by CIMA as part of its Global Business Management week added weight to this claim by finding that the issue of finding and retaining staff was the top concern of Fortune 500 managers.

The Tories attacked Blair on this issue. With the next general election scheduled for May next year, David Heathcoat Amory, the Tory shadow trade and industry secretary, accused Blair of an ‘election gimmick’. He accused the prime minister of wasting £10bn on over-regulation for the last three and a half years.


Red tape not business’ greatest concern

Regulatory impact unit

Cima’s global survey

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