Small businesses, including pubs, have been forking out an extra £5bn a year dealing with red tape since Labour was elected.
The government admitted last week that increases in employment legislation and EU directives had led to a shocking rise in costs for businesses, but insisted that it was still striving to cut red tape and bureaucracy.
Employment minister Alan Johnson said the majority of the cost was due to "enhanced conditions of employment".
But despite the government's pledge to tackle the problem, red tape is now costing firms £24,321 a year on average - up from £21,622 last year.
Kate Nicholls, spokeswoman for the trade's Red Tape Group, said she was not surprised by the figures. She told thePublican.com that it could be much higher.
She said: "It's difficult to quantify the effects of red tape, but this doesn't surprise me at all.
"Employment law is the real killer and doesn't just cost pubs money but also valuable time.
"We are pushing the government to reduce red tape, but legislation has almost doubled in the last few years."