Businesses are saving nearly £3 billion a year due to the Government's Simplification Programme which aims to get rid of unnecessary paperwork - saving firms time, money and hassle - according to a report published by the Better Regulation Executive yesterday.
The report details 280 regulatory changes over the last 12 months designed to make life simpler for businesses, including:
- creating a more flexible way for employers and employees to resolve disputes at work;
- no longer testing every spirit optic; &
- digital tachographs for HGVs.
Minister for Business and Regulatory Reform Ian Lucas said:
"Simplification is making a real difference to the everyday lives of businesses, helping them save more than £8 million every day.
"Individual measures may look small but it is overall impact that adds up to real savings. And support from the business community has helped make sure that savings to businesses are felt on the ground.
"But the programme also shows real change across government in its attitude towards regulation. Delivering the right business environment to promote growth relies on creating a flexible regulatory framework that minimises costs to business but ensures essential protections and rights are in place. Better regulation, with simplification at its core, is making that possible."
An independent panel including representatives from the business community has tested whether simplification measures were effectively communicated to businesses and felt in the ground. In May this year, this Panel again scrutinised the Government's delivery and validates 77.5% of the Programme's gross savings.
The Government is on track to meet its target of cutting the administrative burden on businesses by 25% by May 2010 that will deliver an expected £3.3 billion in annual net savings.
The report also details how government has reduced by almost one third the amount of information requests from central government on front-line public sector workers, such as nurses and police, and how it has cut more than £1.3 billion in wider costs related to compliance.
The Government recently announced a new commitment to cut the costs of regulation further, by £6.5 billion by 2015. This was part of a package of measures to strengthen the management of regulation with the publication of the Government's regulatory programme until April 2011 and the creation and set up of a new independent scrutiny body to advise on the costs and benefits of new regulation.
The Government announced in the Pre-Budget Report that it has already identified potential savings of over £1 billion towards the new target. Recognising the importance of ensuring that the programme focuses its attention on the areas which are of greatest concern for business, the Government yesterday launched a call for evidence, to enable business and other interested parties to feed in suggestions of which regulatory activities place disproportionate costs on business, compared to the benefits delivered, and to propose action that will reduce or remove these costs.
Submissions to the call for evidence can be made through firstname.lastname@example.org. The Government also plans to engage with stakeholders through a range of discussions and events, covering each of the themes, to enable stakeholders to put their ideas directly to the officials leading the theme groups.