What is the Cutting Red Tape review programme about?

The Cutting Red Tape review programme will deliver public scrutiny of existing regulations and the way they are enforced and implemented to drive improvements in the law and the way it is applied. Specifically the reviews will seek to remove unnecessary burdens on business whilst maintaining necessary protections. The programme builds on the best of the previous Red Tape Challenge, Focus on Enforcement and Business Focus on Enforcement initiatives.

Why are you doing the reviews?

Poorly applied regulations lead to needless red tape and unnecessary costs. The Government has committed to delivering £10 billion savings to business over this Parliament through reductions in the burdens arising from both legislation and its implementation. Previous review programmes – Red Tape Challenge, Focus on Enforcement and Business Focus on Enforcement – brought about real improvements to the regulatory environment and secured significant savings – but there is still much more to do.

Does this mean you are planning to remove important protections?

No, that is not the purpose of the programme. Regulation exists for a good reason – offering vital protections to consumers, the workforce and to the wider community. It can also help markets operate effectively. But we have shown through previous programmes that outdated legal requirements can be removed, that the law can be simplified, and that it can be enforced more efficiently and effectively to reduce unnecessary costs while still maintaining necessary protections.

How does it differ from Red Tape Challenge and the Focus on Enforcement programme?

Red Tape Challenge examined the stock of regulations. Focus on Enforcement looked at enforcement activity and regulators practices. Cutting Red Tape reviews will look simultaneously at the regulations and how they are enforced in one go – looking at how they apply to and impact on specific sectors of the economy. Past experience has shown a sectoral approach is best for identifying how regulations impact on business and for identifying reforms that have a tangible benefit for business. The guiding principle of the new programme will be Government and industry working collectively on each review. In addition, every review will actively seek evidence of typical regulatory or enforcement barriers that affect businesses so this approach effectively combines the key elements of the previous programmes.

How will the new programme work?

The Cutting Red Tape review programme involves staff from BEIS and the Cabinet Office jointly working together on a rolling programme of sector reviews in partnership with Departments, regulators and business to identify opportunities for regulatory reform, improved enforcement and implementation practices and savings to business.

Each review will begin with a short evidence gathering phase, followed by identification of the main issues and the options for delivering improvements and then by taking forward reforms.

What sectors are you reviewing?

The sectors for the first wave of reviews are: Mineral Extraction, Waste, Agriculture, Energy and Care Homes. The programme and the sectors that form this first wave of reviews were announced as part of the Productivity Plan published on 10 July 2015. These will run until 14th September 2015. A second wave of sector reviews are expected to launch in the Autumn.  

Can the scope of the reviews change?

We wouldn’t normally expect the scope of a review to change or to change significantly if it did. But we may make minor adjustments to the coverage of the review as it progresses, to ensure that it covers a coherent and manageable range of issues.

Are Focus on Enforcement / Business Focus on Enforcement and Red Tape Challenge continuing?

The new programme encompasses the best of the Red Tape Challenge and Focus on Enforcement. Business Focus on Enforcement is still a live programme and those trade associations that submitted an interest in running a BFoE review will have the chance to have their proposal considered for a review under the new programme if they wish to participate in it. Although the Red Tape Challenge website is no longer open for comment we are continuing to implement the reforms identified earlier in the programme with priority being given to those that carry the greatest financial saving for business.

What’s in scope of the Cutting Red Tape reviews?

The regulatory functions that impact directly on business or civil society organisations, carried out by Departments and national regulators, as well as those carried out by local authorities under the direction of central government departments or national regulators.

Which parts of the UK are covered by the reviews?

This exercise mainly focuses on regulatory functions carried out in England. In the case of Scotland, it only applies to regulatory functions exercised in reserved matters. In Northern Ireland, it only applies to regulatory functions which have not been transferred. It does not apply to regulatory functions which are only exercisable in or as regards Wales.

How can I see what progress is being made?

Any announcement on Cutting Red Tape will be published, including on this website allowing you to see what action has been or will be taken.  

What was achieved through the Red Tape Challenge?

The Red Tape Challenge covered a broad range of policy areas and utilised innovative crowdsourcing techniques to collect feedback from those people affected by the burden of regulation. By addressing the areas identified by members of the public and the business community, the Red Tape Challenge achieved a saving for business of over £1.2bn per year by so far reforming over 2,200 measures.  

What was achieved through Focus on Enforcement?

Reforms brought about by Focus on Enforcement are saving business millions of pounds, encouraging companies to grow, speeding up multi-billion pound investments, reducing burdens, and bringing about culture changes within regulators, all without weakening protections.

More information on the achievements is available on the Focus on Enforcement website.

Will you scrap or amend EU regulations?

The UK government cannot scrap EU regulations or unilaterally amend them, but we do recognise the burden they can impose. That is why we are giving the public an opportunity to comment on how EU legislation has been implemented in the UK on this website for example to allow us to consider any suggestions that legislation has been ‘gold-plated’ – where the UK has gone beyond the minimum required by the EU legislation.

What are you doing to address the burdens of EU regulations?

We are working with other EU Member States to try to make sure new burdens placed on business are off-set by savings elsewhere. We are pushing the European Commission to start by publishing the cost of planned regulations and setting a target to reduce the overall burden of EU regulation. We are also pressing the Commission to propose an expanded range of lighter regulatory regimes for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to mitigate the disproportionate costs that regulation can impose on them.

Who are the Cutting Red Tape team?

The Cutting Red Tape Team is a cross-Whitehall programme, and is led by a small central team across Cabinet Office and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

How can I get in touch with the team?

You can either comment on our website or write to us at:

Cutting Red Tape

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

1 Victoria Street

London SW1H 0ET

Or email us at: cuttingredtape@bis.gsi.gov.uk

Can I suggest sectors to look at?

Yes – we would welcome any suggestions of sectors you think should be examined why you think they should be examined. You can send your suggestions through to us by posting on the website, emailing us, through our twitter feed @CutRedTapeUK #cutredtape, or by writing to us at the address above.

This site is designed to promote open discussion of ways in which the aims of existing regulation can be fulfilled in the least burdensome way possible. The purpose of this exercise is to open government up to public scrutiny.