Simon Kirby – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Simon Kirby on 2014-04-09.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps he has taken to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses; and if he will make a statement.

Michael Fallon

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has put in place a robust framework to reduce the burden of regulation on all businesses, particularly small business.

In January 2011, we brought in the One-in, One-out rule. This required departments wanting to introduce new regulation which generated costs for business to first identify a corresponding cut in regulation elsewhere with the same value. In January 2013 this was increased to a more demanding One-In, Two-Out rule so that departments now need to find £2 of savings for every £1 cost they introduce. To date, as set out in the 7th Statement of New Regulation published on 17 December 2013, we have cut the annual cost of domestic regulation by £1.19 billion.

We are also reducing the stock of regulation through the Red Tape Challenge, with over 3,000 regulations now having been identified to be scrapped or improved. When fully implemented, we expect that these changes will bring estimated annual savings to business of over £850 million.

Specifically to help small business, in April 2011 we introduced a moratorium exempting micro and start-up businesses from new domestic regulation for three years. From 1 April 2014 this was extended to include small businesses (with up to 50 employees) through the introduction of the Small and Micro Business Assessment (SaMBA).

Measures that this Department has introduced specifically to reduce the burden of regulation on small businesses include giving small and medium-sized enterprises the flexibility to determine the most appropriate set of accounting rules for them, along with flexibility in how they submit their company reports through regulatory changes to audit rules. We have also extended the qualifying period of unfair dismissal to two years and introduced a new employment status of employee shareholder.