Business alarmed at MPs’ attitude to red tape. By Simon Sweetman

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The above headline appeared in the Financial Times this week and the story made for alarming reading indeed. A survey of MPs by the Industry and Parliament Trust, of which the FSB is a member, found that most did not think that red tape was an important issue affecting business.

If I read from the website of The All-Party Parliamentary Small Business Group (APPSBG), it tells me that its mission is to act as a constructive means of assuring feedback on smaller business issues to Parliament. The Group, it reminds us, has almost 400 members and is believed to be the largest and most influential All-Party Group in Parliament.

So just where has this influence shown up? Where have they fed back information to parliament? We have had several years of the FSBs Barriers to Growth, whe...

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By bseddon
11th Jun 2007 17:26

No surprise for me
Surely it cannot come as much of a surprise. If you were elected to Parliament wouldn't you think it your priviledge, even you duty, to enact laws? What other purpose is there? And you'd need quantity over quality so you can re-assure your constituents that you're doing you job and hold out the prospect of being re-elected.

Because it's so easy to put documents together and share them now, it's surprising there aren't even more laws. Does anyone have any statistics on the number of bills proposed (not necessarily enacted) and the size (in pages) of proposed legislation over time? In the absence of any concrete information I can well imagine both have escalated substantially over the past 10-15 years.

Maybe next time around it will be good to have a hung parliament, or at least only a slender majority one way or another, so that there has to be focus on legislation that is likely to be a benefit to everyone or none at all.

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By jonspe
11th Jun 2007 19:23

Get real
It's naive to expect MP's to be bothered by red tape for real world businesses. They have far more important matters to deal with - such as totting up £150,000 non-accountable tax free expenses, making sure their gold-plated pensions are intact and, most importantly, making sure they keep it all confidential from their bosses (us). They just don't have the time to deal with less consequential matters like red tape, so please don't bother them again unless you want to discuss their next richly-deserved pay increase.

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12th Jun 2007 09:55

There's none so deaf...
Basically, most of the job-creation in this country has come from pointless, pythonesque bills. The pensions industry, accountancy, legal, etc, then have to employ 1,000s of extra staff to comply with the nonsense.

We even need to import more labour to help fill in the forms. More consumers fuel the notion of a 'growing economy'.

Now, we all (should!) know that non-value added jobs strangle an economy, as it did in the former Eastern Block.

But by the time it happens, the politicos will be retired/in prison/gone temporarily mad, etc.

They call it riding the gravy train...

(Acknowledgement to R. Waters)

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By Anonymous
13th Jun 2007 11:08

Common Sense versus Red Tape
Dare I suggest a solution to all this red tape by the insertion of a Common Sense Override clause ( no more than five sentences please! ) in every Act of Parliament.

If the intended results of the red tape have been attained without going through the hoops, then no law has been broken.

( I managed to boil the kettle without scalding myself, so no risk assessment was necessary )

Could law and regulations possibly return to being our servant rather than master?

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