Tourism taskforce: 'Government must cut red tape'

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Related tags: Red tape, Regulation

Challenge: Tourism Regulation Taskforce pushes Government on cutting red tape
Challenge: Tourism Regulation Taskforce pushes Government on cutting red tape
The Government has been urged to make applying for a premises licence easier and to cut red tape on health and safety regulations. The Tourism Regulation Taskforce – chaired by the British Hospitality Association president Alan Parker – has submitted more than 80 proposals to tourism minister John Penrose as part of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge.

In its report, Smart Regulation and Economic Growth: Seizing the Tourism Opportunity, the taskforce says that if a publican submits a hard-copy licence, they will need to submit up to nine copies to the authorities (including the police and fire authority), which can cost between £70 and £80. It is proposed that licensing authorities take overall responsibility of this.

On fire safety, the Taskforce wants clear and consistent national guidance: “Particular problems have arisen often due to inspections by fire officers with no national consistency of approach.

“The cost for businesses required to make changes following the visit of a fire officer can be huge and are disproportionate to the problem, and there appears to be no protocol to suggest that premises with a history of compliance are subject to fewer inspections.”

For health and safety, the report proposes a focus on actions that will minimise the time and cost of risk assessments, including unnecessary duplication of such assessments.

It said: “Local authority regulators should follow the lead of the HSE and the risk-based approach which it has taken to regulation. This, however, needs to be undertaken on a nationwide basis as all too often interpretation is left to local discretion.

"This causes confusion, variable practice from place to place and no common approach or standard of implementation.”

Parker said that removing unnecessary red tape is only part of the tourism growth opportunity, but added that it is a vital one.

He added: “Too often regulations introduced by one Government department conflict with those of another department that also has an interest in the industry.

“Feedback to the Taskforce indicated that regulators rarely understood the difficulties that small independent businesses faced when implementing complex new regulations. Nor is the cost of implementation appreciated.”

The report is now being considered by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The proposals to cut red tape in the hospitality and tourism sector have been welcomed by leading industry bodies, including the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

Kate Nicholls, ALMR strategic affairs director, said: “This report recognises the vital contribution that the hospitality and tourism sector makes to the UK economy – such as providing more than 1.3 million jobs – and we welcome that.

“However, as the report also identifies, hospitality is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the UK, with a huge amount of burdensome red tape.

"A bonfire of red tape is long overdue and we would urge the government to consider these proposals carefully, while at the same time being careful not to add more unnecessary bureaucracy."

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds, who served on the Tourism Regulation Taskforce, said: “It is good to see such a positive reaction from John Penrose to the report.

"It has never been more important to reduce regulation and create jobs in our sector. Across the whole hospitality industry, this report provides a coherent toolkit for the Government to do just that.

“For pubs, the report rightly highlights key concerns, such as the need for proportionate regulations on underage sales that fairly reflect the huge efforts pubs are making in this area.

"Compulsory reviews of council licensing policies every five years are also a big cost burden, as is too much complexity in the licensing application process.

"Removing the need to advertise in newspapers all amendments to a premises licence and an annual date for licensing fees would help, too. For beer there is a range of proposals which would help breweries and reduce costs.

“Unnecessary red tape is a huge drag on job creation in brewing and pubs, so I hope the Government moves quickly towards these reforms.”

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said that the report was a reflection of the industry’s mounting concern about the cost of unnecessary regulations in terms of cost, lost opportunities and lost jobs.

“The hospitality industry submitted a raft of proposals in 2000 to the Better Regulation Taskforce and few, if any, were implemented and The Task Force’s impact was minimal,” she said.

The report is available below.

Tourism-Regulation-Taskforce-Report

Tourism-Regulation-Taskforce-Report.pdf 0.39 MB

Related topics: Legislation

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