Sales & Marketing

James Caan declares war on red tape

1 min read

12 April 2012

Entrepreneur James Caan has spoken out against the government, warning that it must cease from piling "unnecessary and often silly" red tape on SMEs if the economy is to grow.

“It’s not the government’s role to create jobs; that’s the role of small business and entrepreneurs. Government needs to get out of the way and let us do what we do best,” said James Caan, CEO of venture capital and investment firm Hamilton Bradshaw and former BBC Dragon.

For example, he said, the government should scrap the requirement of a £35 poisons license to sell toilet descaled. Or the requirement of an alcohol license to sell chocolate liquors.

Caan blames the Labour Party’s “numerous” employment laws for strangling economic growth, but is optimistic about the future, thanks to the Coalition government’s economic policies.

“Chancellor Osborne has declared that red tape reform has saved businesses £3.3bn, but think about that – that means those rules and regulations, prior to their repeal, were costing businesses £3.3bn. I could put a lot of people to work with that amount,” said Caan.

He added that Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to “kill off the health and safety culture for good” by abolishing or consolidating up to half of existing regulations was “a good start,” if the prime minister does indeed follow through on his statements.

James Caan’s comments echo sentiments felt by British business as a whole. A recent British Chambers of Commerce survey showed that the vast majority of SMEs feel “choked” by government regulations. 

How do you feel about red tape? Are rules and regulations holding your business back?