Brown pledges end to filling in forms for the sake of it

Chancellor Gordon Brown used the CBI conference in London last week to denounce excessive regulatory red tape in business, calling it “outdated” and saying he favoured a more risk-based approach.

Brown said the current regulatory model consisted of “100% inspection, whether it be premises, procedures or practices”.

He said the anachronistic structure would be replaced with “no inspection without justification, no form filling without justification, and no information requirements without justification”.

Guidelines on the new approach will be published before Christmas, he said.

Brown’s comments came as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) published its Simplification Plan, intended to deliver more than 1bn of regulatory savings by 2010.

The plan includes improving advice on employment law to make it more accessible, and replacing the Operating and Financial Review with a simpler model.

The British Chambers of Commerce director-general, David Frost, said employers would now be looking for the government to implement its programme to cut the regulatory burden.

The DTI will simplify rules and improve guidance in those areas of employment law that business has identified as being difficult to understand, including:

  • statement of employment particulars

  • framework on redundancy law

  • maternity pay and leave

  • targeted enforcement and inspection

  • a review of dispute resolution procedures.

But TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said the review was likely to set alarm bells ringing among unions and victims of bad employment practices.

“Unions will be asking hard questions about whether ministers have been too ready to accept the business view that over-regulation is a major problem in the UK,” he said.

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