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Red Tape Challenge: 160 retail regulations to be scrapped

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The proposals are the first results from the government’s Red Tape Challenge.

Comments from the public and business owners on the 257 regulations in the retail sector have led to proposals to:

  • Replace or simplify more than 12 pieces of overlapping, costly and confusing consumer rights law, with a single new piece of legislation.
  • Remove a number of burdens specifically identified by retailers, including: consolidating and simplifying the procedures for age verification or identification for the selling of age-restricted goods; simplifying the ineffective and burdensome poisons licensing system for low-risk products such as fly spray and toilet cleaner; removing the requirement on retailers to notify TV Licensing about TV sales; and removing and simplifying a range of rules on transport products such as tyres and catalytic converters. 
  • Promote greater personal freedom and responsibility by getting rid of symbolic cases of heavy handed intervention, such as requiring a shop selling liqueur chocolates to have an alcohol licence, and by lowering the age for buying harmless Christmas crackers.
  • Prevent business confusion, and cutting down the dead weight of the statute book, by removing redundant legislation, such as the antiquated Trading with the Enemy Act and its 98 linked regulations and rules around the safety of pencils, prams and hood cords where consumers are already protected by other legislation.

“We have to roll back the number of rules and regulations that our businesses have to deal with if we are to create the right conditions for sustainable economic growth,” comments Cable. “We have heard these promises by successive governments before but these first proposals from the Red Tape Challenge show that we’re serious about doing that and we are making real progress.”

The Red Tape Challenge was launched in April this year as part of the government’s growth agenda and will tackle more than 21,000 (horrible phrase alert) “statutory instruments” that are cramping 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. Where businesses highlight concerns, Whitehall officials will have to make the case to retain the rules or they will be abolished.

Make sure you have your say on pointless red tape.

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