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red tape challenge - manufacturing

1 August 2011

Last week the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, announced proposals in relation to the first results from the Red Tape Challenge.

In relation to the retail sector, the Government plans to scrap or simplify around 160 out of the 257 regulations reviewed.

Many of the plans are quite specific to particular businesses and/or have little impact on businesses as they are outdated or used very little anyway. The following proposals have been made:

  1. Removing the requirement to have an alcohol licence in order to sell liqueur chocolates
  2. Lowering the age for buying harmless Christmas crackers from 16 to 12
  3. Removing rules relating to the safety of pencils, prams and hood cords where consumers are protected by other legislation
  4. Removing various specific burdens identified by retailers including:
  • simplifying the procedures for age verification for the selling of age-restricted goods
  • simplifying the poisons licensing system for low risk products such as fly spray or toilet cleaner
  • removing the requirement to notify TV Licensing about TV sales
  • simplifying the rules on transport products such as tyres

Other proposals are merely to remove redundant legislation such as the Trading with the Enemy Act and the 98 regulations linked to it!

The Government also proposes to simplify consumer rights law by replacing and simplifying over 12 pieces of legislation which it says are overlapping, costly and confusing. These will be replaced with a single piece of new legislation.

…but the manufacturing sector is showing little interest

During the review of retail regulations, the retail sector made 9,000 posts on the website. The spotlight turned to manufacturing regulations on 21 July however, as at 28 July, the website had received only six posts, all of which are from a single manufacturer!

This is an ideal time for manufacturers to have their say on which of the regulations identified should be simplified, removed or remain unchanged and is an opportunity that should not be passed up lightly. If manufacturers experience of particular regulations is that they create a disproportionate burden without delivering any real benefit, now is the time to voice their opinion.

Over 120 regulations are being reviewed in relation to the manufacturing sector. These have been divided into the following four categories:

  1. Products and equipment - regulations resulting from the implementation of EU directives relating to the free movement of goods, and regulations relating to previously nationalised industries
  2. Weights and measures - regulations including technical requirements relating to certain measuring equipment and quantity labelling of certain drugs, foods and cosmetics
  3. Intellectual property - regulations relating to trade marks and copyright
  4. Export control - including control orders to implement trade sanctions and arms embargoes

The challenge

The Red Tape Challenge, which began in April this year, is part of the Governments Growth Agenda and is aimed at simplifying and reducing the 21,000 regulations affecting businesses, volunteers and the public. The scheme is run through a website. Every few weeks, various regulations are published on the website relating to a particular sector or industry or spotlight theme. Anybody is able to access the website and comment on any particular statutory instrument identified for review. When the period for comments closes, Ministers have three months to decide which regulations to keep and which to scrap, taking account of the comments provided. Areas which have already been reviewed are retail, hospitality, food & drink, road transportation, and equalities. There is also a review of General Regulations that will run throughout the scheme.

To have your say and influence the regulations affecting you, go to the Red Tape Challenge website.

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