Department of Trade and Industry publishes new plan to cut red tape

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has published an ambitious simplification plan to save business up to £700m a year as part of a cross-government drive to cut red tape.

The plan sets out how the DTI will deliver specific cuts in administrative burdens and marks a major advance towards a challenging target to cut 25% of all DTI red tape by 2010.

Trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling said: “By cutting unnecessary red tape and making essential regulation simpler, we can help sustain a strong economy.

“The plan published today is the product of listening to business. By continuing to work closely every step of the way, we can make simplification a reality. We are determined to do that.”

Key measures in the plan include:

  • New plans to simplify consumer protection legislation

  • A root and branch review, announced last week, to simplify and improve employment dispute resolution

  • A Retail Enforcement Initiative establishing new ways of working between trading standards, environmental health, and health and safety and fire authorities to achieve a third fewer inspections for compliant businesses

  • Companies will be allowed to communicate with shareholders electronically rather than in writing.

John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general, said: “The DTI’s regulatory simplification plan focuses effort in the right areas that matter to business. Employment legislation is the biggest regulatory concern for most companies and action here will be particularly important. The plan is an encouraging road map; delivery of it will be the real prize for business.”

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, said: “It is important that all regulation is as easy to understand and implement as possible, without detracting from basic protections for employees and consumers. To this end, we welcome the DTI’s simplification plan, which will benefit both.”

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