back to article Small biz doubts red tape claims

Small business owners are deeply doubtful that the coalition government will follow through on its promises to cut red tape. A survey from the Forum of Private Business found less than one in three of its members believe the government will have any real impact on regulations and bureaucracy faced by smaller firms. Some 40 …


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It's all relative

"Thomas Parry, research manager at the lobby group, said it was surprising because traditionally small business owners had supported the Tories "so you would expect them to have a fair amount of faith in the Coalition’s pledge to cut red tape"."

Well, it's all relative. What small biz say when they support the Tories is not that they believe the "red tape" function will go down, it's that they believe the "red tape" derivative function will be lower than it would have been under a Labour government.


An idea

The government should have an independant agency that estimates the time and cost of completing every form that the government creates. Further, there should be an appeals procedure through which a business can claim compensation if it can show the estimate to be grossly inaccurate.

The governmeent and its civil servants will then be unable to claim that they don't know the cost of their red tape, and cost-benefit analysis will be possible. It'll still be their benefit, our cost ... but at least there will be a reasonable factual basis for argument.

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The trouble

with reducing red-tape is that most of it originates from the EU and is incorporated into English law. As such, the government would attract swingeing fines from the EU...

And biz says that the most expensive law is the Working Time Directive, although quite how they work-out that it costs them some 17.8 billion in ten years is a puzzle. Unless they are costing the time lost by those workers who opt-out (not too many)

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Red Tape and turd-gilding.

The problem for small-business comes when the rules for big-business get applied.

Responding to a tender document, even a one-man business is these days invariably asked to confirm that they have in place a range of auditable environmental/anti-discrimination/fair-trade/fair-pay policies, questions on whether you offer flexible-working/workplace-nursery/stakeholder-pensions to your 'employees' etc. If you don't, you don't get the tick-in-the-box on the assessment - so you don't get the contract.

Then there's all the EU-mandated stuff like WEEE directives - all this adds small but cumulative amounts of friction and drag to the whole process-of-commerce.

Public-sector organisations are the worst for this sort of legislational turd-gilding. Charities and other 'third sector' bodies are close behind. Some private businesses are standing fast against this regulatory touchy-feely stuff, but their numbers are falling.

What's needed is for small-businesses to be granted an exemption from all this legislation that's only really applicable to big corporates.


"A depressing 89 per cent said...

"... the reason for this likely failure was that politicians have no idea of the impact of their laws on the business community."




The merkins and the brits businesses are all looking at Canada as the last home of the free/brave/...

Perhaps this is because "Due South" is being used as a hole filler by the BBC once more.

I have to say given the joke/ripoff that is a UK pension fund, canada must look very enticing to an ~30ish UK business.



Local Government employees could sing the words printed in the Central Government hymn book there might be a chance for small businesses and even Social Enterprises might get a look in.

However, long before the election and the Demolition Party got to work, Oxford City Council was making it's plans with Local Enterprise Partners (who were already established successful bidders), and new Social Enterprise groups were definitely not invited. At least my application to attend was refused as my Social Enterprise or in Co-Operative Futures, were not already "recognised" "Partner" organisations.

Needless to say the Local Government plans to work with "partner organisations" are now in place, for the next 10 years of partnershipping.

Roll on the next election !



Cut red tape???

As the sole IT person in a small company, it has fallen upon my shoulders to get the company ready for a change in HMRC regs which means, from next April, you can no longer file corporation tax returns in PDF format. Instead you have to use - wait for it - iXBRL format.

What format? Yep, that's what I thought. So I googled it, and my first thought was "WTF?!"

So. Now we have to ditch a globally recognised format in favour of shoe-horning something so obscure that AFAIK only HMRC actually use it. Cut red tape? this is obviously a novel use of the word "cut" of which I was not previously aware...

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Already heading in the wrong direction

They are forcing us all to gamble with money on a pension.

Two problems:

a) More red tape and paper work for business - big and small

b) I don't like gambling on pension funds - theyv'e always been poor value for me as they always seem to lose money instead of making it

If the government were at all in favour of cutting red tape they would never have started on this pension law at all.

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