Red tape row hits CBI talks

Related tags Red tape State Patricia hewitt Taxation in the united kingdom

The issue of red tape and how it is strangling small businesses has been a major topic of discussion at the Confederation of British Industry's (CBI)...

The issue of red tape and how it is strangling small businesses has been a major topic of discussion at the Confederation of British Industry's (CBI) annual conference.

Trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt clashed with CBI director general Digby Jones over growing frustration with increased regulation for businesses such as pubs.

Mr Jones said the Government had introduced 3,800 regulations in 365 days - more than 10 a day.

But Mrs Hewitt said few of the regulations affected day-to-day business and had been made up for by cuts in National Insurance.

Delegates singled out the climate change levy and increased maternity rights - both of which affect pubs - as being particularly damaging to businesses.

Kate Nicholls, spokeswoman for the trade's Red Tape group, said the evidence of increased regulation was obvious.

"This Government has consistently introduced more pieces of regulation each year since it was elected," she said.

"We know for a fact that since the Government came to office, there are 80 pieces of legislation that have been introduced which directly affect pubs. Mrs Hewitt can deny it all she likes, but they're there and we're dealing with them on a day-to-day basis."

Ms Nicholls said that cuts in National Insurance contributions rarely benefited the pub trade as many barstaff and other employees fall below the threshold for contributions.

"It would be nice if one or two of the pieces of legislation removed a burden," Ms Nicholls said. "Regulation on licensing reform, gambling or New Year's Eve would be welcomed."

Related topics Legislation

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