Cable crackdown on crackers red tape restricting retailers; BUT BUSINESSES WANT ACTION ON 'BIGGER BURDENS'.
SHOPS will no longer need a licence to sell chocolate liqueurs and 12-year-olds will not be banned from buying Christmas crackers as part of an attack on red tape unveiled today by Business Secretary Vince Cable.
The Liberal Democrat MP wants to torch "ridiculous" business regulations and scrap redundant wartime legislation. A first step is cutting the age limit for buying Christmas crackers from 16 to the European minimum of 12.
It is understood that until now shops had not been able to sell chocolate liqueurs next to lingerie because this was seen to infringe a ban on linking the consumption of alcohol with sex.
Mr Cable said some of the most ridiculous regulations he discovered included the poisons licensing system, which covered the sale of low-risk products such as fly spray and toilet cleaner.
The requirement on retailers to notify TV Licensing about sales of televisions will also be scrapped, while rules on the sale of car tyres will be simplified.
However, Robert Lloyd Griffiths of the Institute of Directors in Wales said members had never complained about the rules governing liqueurs or fly spray but would benefit from cutting regulation in other areas.
He said: "What's at the forefront is red tape and regulations affecting employment. Let's spend more time on the serious stuff."
His call was echoed by business groups which called on ministers to do more to tackle "big regulatory burdens" as well as "tinkering" with smaller ones.
Mr Cable announced that 130 out of the 257 regulations covering retail firms will be scrapped, and a further 30 will be simplified as part of the Government's "red tape challenge" which will eventually study over 20,000 regulations across British industry. He agreed that governments had often announced action against red tape, but he maintained that the current drive would achieve results quickly, and on a large scale, freeing firms from burdens and making it easier for them to do business.
He said: "We have struck a balance between keeping regulations necessary to protect consumers, the workforce and the environment, while rolling back the number of rules and regulations our businesses have to deal with.
"We have heard these promises by successive governments before, but these first proposals from the red tape challenge show that we're serious and we are making real progress."
The Government has decided not to change legislation covering Sunday trading and to keep in place other rules covering areas such as hall-marking of goods.
Business minister Mark Prisk said he hoped that by scrapping or simplifying regulations covering the retail industry, firms will start to see a difference to their bottom line.
David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "Vince Cable is right that regulation is too often crippling small and mediumsized businesses seeking to grow, and create jobs. There is no doubt that scrapping some of these specific regulations will have a positive effect on some firms in the retail sector.
"Ministers have acknowledged that reducing the burden of regulation on business is essential to supporting economic growth. But we question how these incremental changes will deliver real change on the ground at a time when the Government is introducing more big ticket regulation, for example around parental leave and flexible working. If we're to see real economic growth in the UK, deregulation can't be derailed by new and costly laws."
John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "Businesses are losing confidence in the Government's commitment to deregulate. It is evident that hefty regulatory changes in pensions, flexible working and maternity and paternity - as well as changes from Europe - are still going to hit small firms hard. We welcome the announcement to cut red tape in the retail sector as the start of an effort to look more broadly at regulation in all areas, but we urge the Government to deal with the big regulatory burdens as well as tinkering with the smaller ones."
> COMMENT: PAGE 22 > BUSINESS, PAGE 29 SOME OF BRITAIN'S STRANGER RETAIL REGULATIONS FACING AXE * Chocolate liqueurs cannot be sold next to lingerie as it might link alcohol and sex. * Shops need a poison licence to sell fly spray.
* Under-16s can't buy Christmas crackers. * Stores must notify the television licensing authority of every sale of a television.
* The age limit for buying Christmas crackers is to be cut from 16 to 12 under the plans by Business Secretary Vince Cable, below
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Jul 28, 2011|
|Previous Article:||Hague attacks release of Lockerbie bomber.|
|Next Article:||Defendant denies he was part of violence.|