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New enterprise tsar's remit to slash red tape welcomed; BUT BUSINESS LEADERS SAY BIG CULTURE CHANGE IS NEEDED.

Byline: RHODRI EVANS

BUSINESS leaders in Wales have welcomed the appointment of Lord Young as the new enterprise tsar, with a remit to slash red tape.

But some remain to be convinced the former Trade Secretary can bring about the massive culture change that is needed to reduce the burden of bureaucracy on Welsh employers.

Announcing Lord Young's appointment yesterday Prime Minister David Cameron said enterprise was crucial to his efforts to create a "new economic dynamism" in Britain.

"I am seeking nothing less than a wholesale change in attitude from my Government and I need help to get there," said Mr Cameron. "So I am delighted that Lord Young has agreed to be my enterprise adviser; he'll be working to identify what we need to do to help small businesses grow."

Lord Young, who served in Margaret Thatcher's cabinet, said: "I'll be focusing on what barriers government policy have been put in the way of small business development and helping to advise on what can be done to make life easier for businesses to start and grow."

Downing Street said his review would focus on: how government can remove barriers and encourage more people to start business, including correcting an institutional bias towards people seeking jobs rather than working for themselves; ways in which government can remove barriers to growth faced by firms and remove or minimise regulatory and bureaucratic burdens which increase costs and hassle; ways in which Government departments and the public sector can support growth of small businesses, through reforming procurement, ensuring access to finance, and supporting trade and investment.

Lord Young also said one of the areas he would like to examine was extending the time someone needed to work for a small firm before being able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal - presently one year. David Rosser, director of the CBI in Wales said any effort to reduce the burden of regulation on business was welcome.

"The CBI would welcome any meaningful attempt to address the regulatory environment facing business," he said.

"The challenge that will face Lord Young in making progress is to identify where to cut back.

"When the CBI talks to Welsh companies it is very hard to identify specific regulations, the abolition of which would have an impact on the legislative burden.

It is the cumulative burden which weighs companies down. It's a huge number of small regulations, some of which conflict with one another." Russell Lawson of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Wales said the task facing Lord Young was huge.

He warned that a culture change was needed across all government departments and at all level levels of government from Westminster down to local councils.

"There seems to be one initiative after another but we don't see the overall level of bureaucracy coming down," he said.

"There would have to be a culture change across the board to make things simpler for businesses.

It needs to be instilled in all government departments."

Mr Lawson also warned that the language of official forms was often confusing and onerous to small businesses. "The language needs to be more explanatory and take into account that not every business has a legal department," he said.

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One of the areas Lord Young will examine is ways of removing or minimising bureaucratic burdens
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 2, 2010
Words:554
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