Accountants warn of ‘make or break’ over deregulation

This year could be a ‘make or break’ year for new deregulatory measures planned by the Government according to the accounting body, the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales (ICAEW). These aim to reduce the burden of regulation facing businesses and boost employment by lowering the burden of complying with employment law.

Clive Lewis, ICAEW’s Head of Enterprise, believes that reducing regulatory burdens is a work in progress: “Following a review in early 2011 of the UK’s regulatory framework with final proposals published alongside the Autumn Statement, the Government has achieved a cumulative net reduction of regulation worth £3.3 billion to business,” he says. “The new measures will undoubtedly contribute further to this.”

Key measures outlined by the government include: Exemption from new domestic regulation for micro and start-up businesses for two more years; the launch of an extensive public review to reduce the existing stock of regulation; online registration of the main business taxes online; and an increase to the qualifying period for unfair dismissal.

Clive Lewis adds, “As reflected in our UK Enterprise Survey at the end of 2011, the regulatory environment continues to challenge businesses. In particular, businesses often incur extra costs and find meeting regulatory requirements to be an administrative burden. Many cite employment legislation, employment tax and health and safety regulations as a hindrance to their business.

“ICAEW research also shows that almost two thirds of businesses say there has been no change in the regulatory environment in the past year, with one quarter report that it is now worse. Sadly, 93 percent of our members have either not heard of the Government’s ‘one-in, one-out’ approach to business regulation or do not think it will help. It is therefore important that improvements are made, and that these are communicated to business.

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