Government 'to cut 3,000 regulations'

The government has pledged to cut 3,000 regulations as part of a new push on so-called ‘red tape’.

The Prime Minister has claimed that the changes will save businesses some £850 million a year, but others have preached caution, suggesting that the move could lead to the scrapping of necessary legislation.

In a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Mr Cameron said his would be “the first government in modern history” to end a Parliamentary term with less regulation than when it started. He cited a range of areas in which rules will be scrapped, including waste management and childcare.

The Prime Minister said that he wants the government to “get out of the way of small business success.”

The announcement follows previous stages of the government’s Red Tape Challenge, which also saw business owners able to ‘vote’ on regulation that they wanted to see scrapped.

Landlords were amongst the first to participate in the Red Tape Challenge, one of the focuses on which is the private rented sector. Landlords and tenants were asked, amongst other things, whether existing regulations should instead be turned into voluntary codes.

But unions have reacted to the plans with scepticism. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Stripping self-employed workers of health and safety protection – when construction is riddled with self-employment scams – will make injuries more likely.

“And removing any obligation on employers to protect their staff from sexual and racial harassment by customers sends a very clear signal whose side the government is on.

“The real problems facing small businesses are an economy that has been slow to recover due to austerity economics and the continuing failure of the banks to lend.”