Blair orders Whitehall to slash red tape by 25% in three years

The burden of employment legislation could be slashed after prime minister Tony Blair told every government department to reduce red tape by 25%.

The Department for Work and Pensions told Personnel Today that it expected to announce measures to achieve this target before Christmas. The Department of Trade and Industry is also looking at ways to lighten the regulations load on employers.

Blair revealed at the CBI annual conference in London last week that each Whitehall department has been ordered to cut the burden of regulation by a quarter by 2010.

“This is real. But it is important we work with business to make sure it happens,” he said.

Also speaking at the conference, Chancellor Gordon Brown said the move would mean a huge reduction in the number of forms employers had to fill out. “The goal is a fraction of the forms a fraction of information requirements a fraction of inspections,” he said.

“And over time, this should not only apply to the enforcement of regulations, but to the design of regulations and, indeed, to the decision as to whether to regulate at all.”

The government is looking to implement a risk-based approach to regulation, where businesses are trusted to comply with the law, and only a proportion are checked by inspectors.

Conference quotes

“It is a simple deal for our economy – the only way to compete globally is to be a high-skills, high-value economy.”
Tony Blair, prime minister

“As foreign economies grow, there will be more opportunities for British and US workers.”
Henry Paulson, secretary to the US Treasury

“[The UK] has to learn to deal with the realities of globalisation. Yes, jobs and businesses disappear in the face of foreign competition, but this has been the case since the industrial revolution.”
John Sunderland, CBI president


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