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News - 6 October 2007

Are you drowning in red tape?

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has publishes a report and DVD examining the impact that regulation has on entrepreneurs. It highlights the fact that the average small business spends seven hours per week dealing with regulations and paperwork.

The DVD is a compilation of interviews with small business owners from across the UK explaining what they would do with the seven hours each week that they currently spend filling in forms. The report outlines the benefits to the economy and society that would follow from businesses getting their seven hours back.

The FSB is concerned that the red tape burden is preventing small firms from growing and employing more people, as well as working against other Government priorities, such as increased community involvement by businesses and employee training. Tackling the red tape burden would benefit both businesses and the communities in which they operate.

The FSB wants to encourage the UK Government and the European Commission to deliver on their promises on deregulation. The Commission has committed to cutting red tape and is encouraging member states to follow suit. Estimates put the potential gain from deregulation at €150 billion across the EU.

Tina Sommer, FSB EU Affairs Chairman, said, “Small businesses do not dispute the need for regulation. In many ways it is beneficial because it brings certainty and ensures fair competition.

“Both the UK Government and the EU institutions are relying on entrepreneurs to create jobs and wealth. But the regulatory burden is weighing down small businesses. We have heard warm words from politicians before about cutting red tape, but it is now time for action.

“There is no doubt that the volume and complexity of red tape is excessive. Shorter, simpler regulations will enable businesses to follow the rules more easily as well as protect their existing employees. They will also be able to hire more staff as they use more of their seven lost hours to grow their businesses.”

Some of the many activities that entrepreneurs said that they would do with seven extra hours per week were:

  • 58% of business owners would spend time training staff or working with schools;
  • 50% would spend more time developing their business ;
  • 39% of business owners would devote more time to their local communities;
  • 37% would like to spend more time with their families.


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