Tories promise to "sweep away" red tape

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Red tape, Conservative party

Shadow Business Secretary Ken Clarke has promised the Tories would "sweep away" the excessive amount of red tape businesses face and introduce a "one...

Shadow Business Secretary Ken Clarke has promised the Tories would "sweep away" the excessive amount of red tape businesses face and introduce a "one in, one out" policy on new rules.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference yesterday, Clarke promised to introduce the "right kind of regulation" and vowed to bring about a net five per cent cut in red tape.

The Tories plan to introduce a new 'star chamber', chaired by former Chancellor Clarke, which will mean a strict 'one in - one out' requirement where any new law must include cuts in old laws.

Clarke said small businesses in particular faced "far more than their fair share" of regulatory burden.

Attacking the government, he said: "New Labour has been a burden and a handicap on business that we can no longer afford.

"The world of New Labour is more bureaucratic than anything we have ever known. An over-powerful executive, bigger government, an ungovernable bureaucracy. We all feel it in our daily lives. Businesses, in particular small businesses, face far more than their fair share of it."

He quoted Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) figures which show its members spend on average seven hours a week on official form-filling and red tape of one kind or another.

Clarke also announced plans to:

- "Curb the powers of intrusive inspectors by allowing firms to arrange their own, externally audited inspections and, providing they pass, to refuse entry to official inspectors thereafter"; and

- "Consult carefully on changes that may be required to the employment and discrimination tribunals system, to ensure the system offers fast, cheap and accessible justice, and that it is fair to all sides."

But the FSB said Clarke should have been bolder with his plans. National chairman John Wright said: "The proposals could have gone further by proposing a moratorium on all new regulations.

"The FSB believes that all new business regulations should be postponed for the duration of the recession and the first 18 months after recovery."

Related topics: Legislation

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