An invitation from the Federation
of Small Businesses, “the UK’s leading business organisation”, to a meeting
to discuss regulation leaves us with mixed feelings.
On the one hand, the opportunity to hurl vitriolic abuse, to
anyone who will listen, about the idiots in government who have landed us with
such a damfool regulatory environment may well prove cathartic.
One the other hand, nothing will change. It will simply be a
box ticking exercise for some government official who can then claim the
business community has been consulted, only promptly to ignore all the concerns
we have expressed.
Anyway, the Federation has asked us what five regulations we
would most like to change.
Only five? Here are the first five that spring immediately
to mind – if we think about it for more than a few minutes, we could probably
list twenty or thirty.
But, if anyone else has anything they really want said, please
tell us by commenting below and we will happily pass it on the FSB – the
Federation of Small Businesses, that is, not Russian
state security, even if the latter would probably be more ruthless at sorting
1 To start with the
Big One, paying tax may be a regrettable necessity, but the paperwork that goes
with it is usually unnecessary. For most businesses, VAT forms are relatively
simple: other taxes could easily be simplified in the same way, given the will
to do it, and tax yield would actually increase.
2 “Data protection” might
be a modern day necessity but there is no reason why compliance should be so
complicated and burdensome. What’s the point of having a costly and complicated
registration system when every business has to register? Better to have a
simple set of rules by which everyone can comply easily and affordably.
3 “Generous” parental
leave imposes a considerable burden on a small business: it makes it
responsible for situations over which it has no control.
4 Disability access
is a socially desirable objective – but, that being so, should it not be the
elusive “society in general” rather than individual businesses that bear the
5 Most of us accept
the need for some health and safety controls, but the credibility of the whole
system is being undermined by taking it to absurd extremes.