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Vince Cable launches the government’s Red Tape Challenge campaign today. Here's how you can get involved.

Business Secretary Vince Cable

Vince Cable's Red Tape Challenge is part of the government’s growth agenda and will tackle more than 21,000 "statutory instruments" (please can someone come up with a better phrase?) that are stifling businesses, volunteers and the public.

Every few weeks, a new set of regulations, organised around themes, will open on the website for anyone to comment on – this is your big chance to have your say on all those rules and regulations that are "grounded in pointless" (to steal an expression from Lara Morgan, founder of Pacific Direct). Where businesses highlight concerns, Whitehall officials will have to make the case to retain the rules or they will be abolished.

“Where regulation is well-designed and proportionate, it should stay. But it is hard to believe that we need government regulations on issues such as ice cream van musical jingles. That’s why I want us to be the first government in modern history to leave office having reduced the overall burden of regulation, rather than increasing it," says the PM David Cameron.

The campaign launches today (at Spitalfields Market, London). The first five themes of the Red Tape challenge campaign will be:

* Retail (pilot phase open for four weeks beginning April 7)

* Hospitality, food and drink (open for two weeks beginning May 5)

* Road transportation (open for two weeks beginning May 19)

* Fisheries, marine enterprises and inland waterways (open for two weeks beginning June 2)

* Manufacturing (open for two weeks beginning June 16)

“Some of these regulations are there for good reasons, protecting employees, businesses or the public. But some, like the Indication of Prices (Beds) Order serve no purpose at all," comments Cable.

“That’s why this campaign is different to the de-regulation drives that have gone before. The onus is now on my fellow ministers and I to justify a regulation, rather than on you telling us to do something about it.

“I urge you to visit the website and take a few minutes to tell us the regulations you deal with on a daily basis. This is your chance to make sure that consumers are properly protected from unscrupulous traders or give us the evidence we need to remove the unnecessary bureaucracy that stops your business from growing.”

Make sure you vote on which regulations get the chop by visiting the Red Tape challenge website.

“It will be interesting to see the response that the new website generates. Small businesses have to dedicate a significant chunk of their resource to meeting regulations, and the reality is that many will not be aware that some ever existed in the first place," says Simon Streat, Experian’s managing director for SME, UK & Ireland. "Whether core financial regulations change significantly on the back of today’s announcement is uncertain, but what is certain is that small business owners will still need to equip themselves with a basic knowledge of regulations relating to their financials. Any breaches – however inadvertent – could ultimately impact negatively on their business credit score.”

Next: Late retirement age: why all the fuss?

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