Government unveils deregulation bill

Ken Clarke, minister without portfolio, and Oliver Letwin, minister for government policy, have published the draft Deregulation Bill, which aims to make life easier for businesses by freeing them from red tape.

Red Tape ChallengeThe draft bill will now be scrutinised by a joint committee of MPs and peers, and legislation will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows.

The government says its Red Tape Challenge has already brought in reforms that have saved business over £212m a year. A significant number of further measures will be implemented by the end of 2013, including an overhaul of employment tribunals to save business around £40m per year.

Overall, ministers have already decided that over 1,900 substantive regulations will be scrapped or reduced. The chancellor announced in the Budget that a second phase of the Red Tape Challenge will start in summer 2013.

The Deregulation Bill amends or repeals 182 different pieces of legislation, removing unnecessary burdens on businesses, individuals and public bodies.

The red tape reforms for businesses include scrapping health and safety rules for self-employed workers in low risk occupations, making the system of apprenticeships more flexible and responsive to the needs of employers and the economy and removing employment tribunal judges’ power to issue wide recommendations to businesses brought before them. Oliver Letwin said: "If Britain is to succeed in the global race, we have to make sure that government does not get in the way of hard working businesspeople. Through the Red Tape Challenge we have already been able to remove £212 million worth of burdens per year on business. Some of the key changes we have got in motion include making employment tribunals work for employers as well as employees, hugely simplifying building standards and environmental guidance and getting health and safety law into proper proportion."