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News - 28 July 2011
Retail will be a lot easier now

Hardly a bonfire of retail regulations.

Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced plans to scrap or simplify more than 160 regulations, freeing the public and retailers from rules that he claims are unnecessarily burdensome, overly bureaucratic or completely redundant.

The proposals are the first results from the Government’s Red Tape Challenge. The Red Tape Challenge is part of the Government’s Plan for Growth, designed to create the right conditions for businesses to start up, invest, grow and create jobs. Over the lifetime of the Challenge, Government will examine all of the existing regulations on the statute book, with a view to breaking down the barriers and promoting opportunities for business, freeing them of unnecessary red tape.

The most recent proposals include:

  • replace or simplify more than 12 pieces of overlapping, costly and confusing consumer rights law, with a single new piece of legislation;
  • remove a number of burdens specifically identified by retailers including consolidating and simplifying the procedures for age verification or identification for the selling of age-restricted goods;
  • simplify the ineffective and burdensome poisons licensing system for low risk products such as fly spray and toilet cleaner;
  • remove the requirement on retailers to notify TV Licensing about TV sales;
  • removing and simplifying a range of rules on transport products such as tyres and catalytic converters;
  • getting rid the requirement for a shop selling liqueur chocolates to have an alcohol licence and lowering the age for buying Christmas crackers
  • prevent business confusion, and cutting down the dead weight of the statute book, by removing redundant legislation, such as the antiquated Trading with the Enemy Act and its 98 linked regulations and rules around the safety of pencils, prams and hood cords where consumers are already protected by other legislation.

BUSINESS FORUM COMMENT

Any reduction in regulations is to be welcomed and we accept that these are probably the "low hanging fruit" but their removal is hardly earth shattering news. Still faced with the complications of PAYE regulations, statutory maternity pay, annual returns to Companies House [despite the fact that for most small businesses nothing changes for decades] and keeping up with H&S legislation I doubt that many retailers will be celebrating.


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