Industry bodies welcome chance to review ‘unnecessary’ regulations

Industry bodies are likely to call for changes to legislation surrounding the transfer of staff and health and safety as part of the coalition government’s review of regulations, but have urged ministers not to have a “simplistic debate” about the regulations.

As part of the coalition’s review of all regulations introduced by the Labour over the past 12 months, employers have been invited to nominate the unnecessary laws they would like to see scrapped.

“You know better than government departments, better even than Vince [Cable, the business secretary], what rules and regulations are holding you back,” said deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. “The whole point of this exercise is to get Whitehall out of the driving seat. We want to know where regulation works, where it doesn’t, and what we can do to help.”

A new Reducing Regulation Committee, chaired by Cable, is beginning the task of reviewing regulations and red tape.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) confirmed it would be contributing to the review, but cautioned there is limited scope to change the employment-related legislation as much of it is based on European Directives, which are “hard to unpick”.

But Ben Willmott, senior public policy adviser, said the CIPD would be pushing for a change in the Tupe (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) regulations.

“It is one of the most challenging areas,” he told Personnel Today. “We would like a review to see if there is any scope for simplification.”

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said it was working on its suggestions, but hinted that “excessive” health and safety regulations, particularly for remote workers, would be in the agenda.

Sam Turvey, head of communications at the BCC, said: “We welcome Nick Clegg’s call for business views on red tape. Over the last decade, the cost of dealing and complying with regulation has been too high, and it now needs to be reduced so British companies can drive a lasting economic recovery. Regulation is like taxation, it raises costs and so reduces the amount of business activity conducted in the UK.”

However, Willmott said it would be too easy to suggest that all regulations are bad. “It is important not to have a simplistic debate about regulations,” he said. “The biggest complaints from employers are around how badly drafted regulations are – so more needs to be done on the guidance.”

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