Red tape freeze extended

From 2014, businesses with fewer than 50 employees are to benefit from the same regulatory exemptions that currently apply to smaller businesses, as the government continues its drive to reduce red tape.

Firms will also undergo an assessment process to exempt them from new regulations if there is any evidence they will result in ‘disproportionate burdens’ that could stunt business growth.

Announcing the extension, business minister Michael Fallon said that small businesses were vital in creating new jobs and balancing the UK economy.

Whitehall departments will be required to consider a range of mitigation strategies before introducing new legislation, including:

  • providing extra time for businesses to comply with new regulations
  • simplifying record keeping requirements
  • tailoring advice and guidance for small businesses
  • varying regulations according to the size of business.

Michael Fallon said: “On my watch, new regulations will now only extend to small businesses if they are essential, justified, and where disproportionate burdens are fully mitigated. And where regulation is not fit for purpose it will be reformed or binned.”

The new Small and Micro Business Assessment (SMBA) builds upon the existing Micro-Business Moratorium, introduced in Budget 2011.

The Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Businesses both welcomed the SMBA, saying many small businesses would benefit from the reduction of regulation and administration.