Government defends red tape record citing workers’ rights

He told MPs in the Commons: ‘The question is the balance thatneeds to be struck between providing minimum rights andentitlements to people in the workplace, which we support, anddoing so in a way that is light-touch and does not create theover-regulation that can often result from doing thatinappropriately.’

He was responding to Tory protests that a government ‘StarChamber’ under Cabinet Office Minister Mo Mowlem has failed tomake much impact on the burden of regulation on SMEs.

Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary Angela Browning pledged anincoming Tory Government to set ‘regulatory budgets’ requiringevery Secretary of State, following an independent audit, toreduce the costs the department concerned imposes on businessthrough regulation.

She added: ‘We shall exempt small businesses from muchregulation that the government have put on them and have properindependent impact assessments before a Bill proceeds throughthe House.’

Byers said that more than a million businesses have started upsince Labour won office and that over the past two years theoverall number of closures has been lower than at any time inthe past decade.

He claimed the ‘Star Chamber’ is working to cut unnecessaryred tape.

He admitted however that there had been ‘the culture ofgovernment’ which is inclined to use more regulation as a ‘soft option’.

Mo Mowlam – The Red Tape slasher?

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