February 14, 2014
The government's three-year campaign to cut unnecessary business regulation – the Red Tape Challenge – has had little or no impact on British businesses, according to new research.
More than half (52%) of the business professionals surveyed by Croner said the Red Tape Challenge had no impact on their business. A further 41% said they were "not sure" what effect the campaign had and just 7% of professionals said that it had "some impact" on their business.
However, the research found that while some felt the cuts to red tape were not significant enough to impact on business, many were simply unaware of the changes and said they had been poorly communicated.
Richard Smith, head of product and strategy at Croner, said: "There hasn't been the bonfire of regulations that the government promised. Many of the reductions are in areas that touch customers infrequently, or have been repackaged into consolidating legislation. That's because much of the drive towards regulation is EU driven and therefore there is very little that the UK government can do to change those laws."
One area that garnered praise by respondents was recent employment law changes – particularly to workplace tribunals and TUPE. However, Carol Smith, senior employment consultant at Croner, said: "The government has made a number of positive employment law changes. However, employers have been saying these have been a nightmare to implement because the government has waited to the last minute to apply them."
On the burden of health and safety regulations, Stephen Thomas, safety technical consultant at Croner, said: "Despite all the talk of red tape cuts and thousands of pieces of legislation being removed, the key health and safety regulations remain unaffected because they are considered to be fit for purpose."
He added: "While the government is strongly promoting its pro-business stance, employers who break health and safety laws are seeing an increase in fines and costs, such as the Health and Safety Executive's Fee for Intervention scheme."