View from the House

It may say something about the relative efficiency of each organisation that the TUC spent four days debating the future of the world and the CBI managed to end all the chin wagging by Tuesday lunchtime, after just one and a half days in windswept Birmingham.

But having sat through the best part of both events I got the distinct impression that the CBI and British business was being listened to a bit more seriously.

Complaints about red tape, regulation and taxation seem to be impressing the government more these days than calls for more rights for paternity leave or trade union recognition.

Certainly the chancellor in his pre-Budget statement went some way to help business by trying to encourage research and development and changing the tax regime to encourage multinationals to set up their headquarters in the UK.

But it is surprising how much there is still to play for. Even some of the changes that grabbed the headlines, such as cheaper greener fuel, are only proposals which means the government is open to influence.

Lord Haskins’ Better Regulation Taskforce is also picking up speed, its report on the farming industry came out on the 15 November and covered everything from hedgerows to agri-chemicals. Lord Haskins is already moving on to other areas including the regulatory watchdogs in such industries as energy and telecommunications.

In the run up to the next election the government will be keen to keep business on its side as much as a it can, so now may be just the right time to make your views felt.

After all there aren’t many industries that don’t want to see red tape cut or aren’t interested in anything that could bring down their energy or phone bills.

Keeping a sharp eye on the government’s proposals in the coming months, reading the small print and even some intelligent lobbying could win you a very grateful client or boss for years to come.

  • Jonty Bloom is a business news reporter at the BBC.

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