The government claimed today that its red tape reduction drive is already saving UK businesses £800m a year.
The savings were detailed in a report which claimed the government is on the way to saving businesses and the third sector £3.5bn per year in admin costs by 2010.
It details ways the government is cutting the burden on businesses, including halving the number of health and safety forms they have to fill in, speeding planning consents, and releasing 60,000 firms from the obligation to appoint a company secretary. That last one apparently saves British businesses £450,000 a year – overall sadly, not each.
In fact, the government claims it has over 280 initiatives underway to tackle red tape, or as it puts it, one for every working day of the year. It doesn't seem to detect any irony in this bit of civil service fine detailing, or in the fact that it has produced a 44 page report on progress in cutting red tape and the overall administrative burden, detailing more regulations which have now been scrapped.
So far, the business community seems unimpressed by Whitehall's efforts to relieve executives' of their administrative burden.
Just last week the CBI said red tape, along with a creaking transport infrastructure, were the two biggest threats to business. Meanwhile, the Treasury's efforts to relieve the administrative burden associated with Capital Gains Tax - by scrapping taper relief and bringing in a flat rate – continue to rankle with entrepreneurs who will end up paying more tax when they cash in their businesses. ®