Business Minister Javid launches new drive to cut business red tape

Sajid Javid

The reviews are the first step to working with British businesses to axe unnecessary regulation and its poor implementation by a further £10 billion over the course of this Parliament.

The Government is appealing to businesses to come forward and flag areas for change through the new Cutting Red Tape Programme.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I am determined to take the brakes off British businesses and set them free from heavy-handed regulators. The Government’s pledge to cut £10 billion in red tape over the course of this parliament will help create more jobs for working people, boost productivity and keep our economy growing.

“For the first time, these reviews will look not only at the rules themselves but the way they are enforced. We want firms to tell us where red tape is holding them back and help us make Britain the best place in Europe to start and grow a business.”

Examples where businesses have said regulation, and the way it is implemented, is getting in the way of doing business in the sectors under review include:

Mining and quarrying companies have to apply for both planning permission and environmental permits, but once planning consent is given, environmental permitting can then require a different approach, requiring a new planning consent and thus delaying investments and incurring further costs.

Waste businesses have said that regulators could respond better to innovation, and thereby help the sector to maximise opportunities to recycle or re-use material that could otherwise end up in landfill.

This programme of work will build on the better regulation measures announced in May as part of the Government’s Enterprise Bill. These include plans to extend and simplify the primary authority scheme, and make sure the activities of regulators contribute to the Government’s better regulation target. It also builds on the £10 billion of savings achieved by Government through better regulation over the last five years.

The areas being reviewed are:

Energy – this will be a wide ranging review across the sector and will include regulation and its enforcement by Government, the energy regulator Ofgem etc. It will seek industry views on potential areas for cutting red tape including on, complex licencing requirements, and burdens placed on new market entrants.

Care homes – a recent review of adult social care showed that the sector has significant concerns about the overlap of different inspection regimes. For example, a small home with 30 residents can find itself dealing with 7 different public agencies asking for similar information. A more rational approach would keep necessary protections but avoid wasteful duplication.

Mineral extraction – this industry is subject to strict environmental and planning regulatory control, the necessity of which is readily accepted by business. However, businesses have said there are unnecessary regulatory burdens around the interaction of planning and permitting regimes, and that enforcement and implementation practices, application processes and inspection regimes could be simplified and applied more consistently and coordinated better by the many different regulatory bodies a business must interact with.

Waste – this review will look at the impact of regulations across the waste industry, from production and processing to collection, disposal and treatment. It will be used to identify and remove barriers to advancing the sector while ensuring human health and the environment remain protected.

Agriculture – Information requirements are a major issue for the agriculture industry. For the farming sector, research suggests that reporting on animal health and farming currently takes 1.7m people hours per year at a cost of £77m. This review will build on DEFRA’s existing programme of work to reduce burdens on farmers by seeking evidence of unnecessary burdens to report information to national and local government.