Headlines: February 21st, 2003

Staff from private sector telecommunications, financial services and manufacturing companies have been working with government to tackle the burden of unnecessary regulations on the business community. In a report on its first year’s work, The Business Regulation Team, based in the Cabinet Office Regulatory Impact Unit, says it has concentrated on tackling red tape in the chemicals and retail sectors.The report details the steps the government has taken in response to the team’s initiatives,including a major review of operational enforcement in the chemicals manufacturing industry, a national scheme for accrediting proof-of-age cards, reform of the administrative requirements of the Sunday Trading Act and a review of the Poisons Act, including the need for a licence to sell everyday household products such as kettle descaler.

Welcoming the team’s report Lord Macdonald, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said, “Government and business want the same thing, simple regulations, sensibly enforced. The Business Regulation Team has talked to over 100 representatives from companies and business organisations and has identified bureaucratic burdens that are now being removed.”

The team’s work has also been praised by the Chemical Industries Association, and by Bill Moyes, Director General of the British Retail Consortium, who said,”We welcome the Business Regulation Team’s report and in particular its contribution to the success of our Proof of Age Standards Scheme. This was an excellent example of policy development adapting to existing business practices in order to address cross-cutting issues. We believe that consultation and partnership working of this nature is the only way to tackle the burden of regulation on business.”

Over the next year the team will be looking at regulations in transport, food and drink processing, bio-pesticides, pharmaceuticals and statistical reporting.