In a statement he reveals that businesses will now have the power to lead the reform of counterproductive, time consuming or bureaucratic enforcement of regulation that can get in the way of growth. “Putting reputable private sector experts in the driving seat will help us improve the way regulation is enforced without compromising standards,” said Hancock. “It is all part of our unambiguously pro-business agenda to increase the financial security of the British people.” This was echoed by EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler, who stated that “the way that regulation is enforced and applied can be more time consuming for business than the regulation itself. Putting businesses at the forefront of reform means that change will be informed by invaluable first-hand experience of the hurdles and burdens that poor enforcement can cause.” Business groups will collect and present evidence directly to ministers and to regulators. In response to each review’s findings, departments and regulators will propose how they will address the issues identified during the reviews. As our largest manufacturing industry, food and farming will be reviewed first. Environment secretary Liz Truss goes on to say that it is thus “vital that our high quality products continue to be competitive. Although we’ve already helped farmers by cutting the number of dairy inspections by 8,000, I am determined to cut red tape even more so our farmers can grow their businesses and the rural economy.” Two trade bodies have already been selected to run reviews under Business Focus on Enforcement: The Fresh Produce Consortium and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU). The Fresh Produce Consortium will investigate reports of high or inconsistent charges at ports on imports of perishable produce; inconsistency in service levels and delays; and emerging evidence that UK businesses are choosing to present shipments for import clearance at other points of entry in the EU because they can obtain a cheaper, more efficient service overseas. The NFU will gather evidence from stakeholders including farmers to investigate claims of reported duplications, overlaps and inconsistencies in visits to livestock farms by national and local regulators. Starting with farmers’ own experiences, it will seek evidence of, for example, processes and equipment checked, and data requested during local authority visits. The Fresh Produce Consortium and NFU will report their findings directly to ministers and regulators in autumn 2014. By Shané Schutte
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