Red Tape Group targets election candidates

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Red tape, Minimum wage, Red tape group

The trade's Red Tape Group, which is fighting for an end to excessive regulation, is to write to all the candidates standing in the forthcoming...

The trade's Red Tape Group, which is fighting for an end to excessive regulation, is to write to all the candidates standing in the forthcoming General Election.

Licensees are also being urged to put their concerns about the red tape burden to their local MPs and election candidates to help bring the issue to the top of the agenda.

The group, backed by licensees and pub operators and supported by The Publican, is preparing a briefing statement which will be sent out to every election candidate next week.

The statement will remind prospective MPs that there are between 60 and 100 pubs in each constituency - many of which are small, independent businesses - and will also put forward suggested solutions.

"We're going to try everything we can to make red tape an election issue," said Kate Nicholls, spokeswoman for the Red Tape Group. "It looks like the main election battle is going to be fought on Europe and public services, but businesses are a substantial part of the country and red tape affects them."

There is a little less than a month before the General Election on June 7 and Ms Nicholls pointed out this is the ideal time for licensees to make their voices heard.

"They have got four weeks to get their point across at a local level to people who desperately want to listen to what they're saying," she said.

She added there were several different ways licensees could make their concerns known.

"There are surgeries, meetings, or you can write to MPs," she said. "Candidates will be going on the campaign trail so licensees can invite them to visit their pub and see what they do every day.

"If we as an industry don't make our concerns known, nobody will do it for us."

The call for action came as the British Chamber of Commerce said they estimated the cost of increased red tape to businesses under the Labour Government could be as much as £10.4bn.

The figures, which were released first in 1999 and have been disputed by ministers, include an estimated £674.5m for implementing the national minimum wage and £200m for stakeholder pensions.

Ms Nicholls said: "We've found it very difficult to pin down an actual figure for the cost of red tape but we do know that there are 80 pieces of legislation that have an impact on our industry and half of that is on a day-to-day basis. We need to use the General Election to make MPs recognise this burden."

The group is lobbying ministers to introduce:

  • a helpline for licensees confused by regulations
  • a handbook giving practical advice on how to comply
  • a simplifies PAYE and VAT system
  • a single government department responsible for the pub trade.

Related topics: Legislation

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