'Limited progress' in deregulation benefits for small business

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'Limited progress' in deregulation benefits for small business (image credit: iStock/eskaylim)

A new report published by the Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) has revealed that despite the ongoing efforts of the government to promote deregulation, the actual savings that are being witnessed for companies are lower than expected.

With a target of providing cost savings of £10 billion for the nation's businesses, the move to deregulate industry has been something both this and the coalition government has committed to in recent parliaments.

However, the latest report on progress towards this ambitious aim from the PAC has revealed there are many UK companies that have yet to benefit from this work, while the overall level of cost savings across the country has so far failed to exceed £1 billion.

FSB national chairman Mike Cherry commented: "FSB members tell us regulation is the number one issue they want this government to focus on. As we face the challenges and opportunities of Brexit, it is vital that we bolster business productivity, and remove burdensome red tape.

"The Regulatory Policy Committee has an important role to play, and we want ministers to reflect this growing role by affording it greater powers and scope.

"We support the government's drive to deregulate, but we are not seeing the current full regulatory picture or evidence of changes on the ground."

Indeed, the PAC stated that due to difficulties in accurately identifying the current true cost of excessive regulation for UK industry, the savings that are being delivered may not be a realistic representation of the situation.

The PAC also cited the introduction of the National Living Wage as having had a significant impact on business costs in recent months - a factor that is not included in official figures for saving from deregulation so far.

Developing a clearer understanding the real picture of the regulatory framework and its impact on individual sectors and organisations should therefore be a priority for the coming years - an activity the FSB believes it can provide useful information upon.

"As the new government re-calibrates its relationship with business, this agenda needs to be tackled if small business owners are to trust government wants to make their life easier," Mr Cherry concluded.