Retail rules to be relaxed in Red Tape Challenge victory

Retailers’ lives are set to be made easier after the government said more than 160 regulations would be simplified or scrapped in the first changes to be introduced through its Red Tape Challenge.

The first wave of reforms, announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable on 28 July, is set to benefit shops and consumers. Comments from the public and businesses have led to proposals including:

  • streamlining more than a dozen pieces of consumer rights law with a single new piece of legislation
  • simplifying the  poisons licensing system for low risk products such as fly spray and toilet cleaner and removing the requirement on retailers to notify TV Licensing about TV sales
  • removing the need for a shop selling liqueur chocolates to have an alcohol licence and lowering the age for buying Christmas crackers
  • scrapping redundant legislation, such as the wartime Trading with the Enemy Act and rules around the safety of pencils, prams and hood cords, where consumers are already protected by other legislation.

Dr Cable said: “We have to roll back the number of rules and regulations that our businesses have to deal with if we are to create the right conditions for sustainable economic growth.

“We are making real progress but this is just the start. We still need the help of business and the public to make the rest of the Red Tape Challenge a success and free businesses to compete, create jobs and unleash a private sector-led recovery.”

Minister for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk said: “As a result of the thousands of comments we received, and a robust challenge process inside Whitehall, we are now proposing to simplify, improve or abolish two-thirds of the retail regulations that we asked the public to comment on, cutting back the bureaucracy that our retailers face.

“These moves will help reduce costs, especially for small retailers, by cutting down the number of forms they have to fill in and overlapping and confusing laws they have to get to grips with.“

The Red Tape Challenge was launched on 7 April as part of the government’s drive to do away with badly designed or badly thought-out regulations that create an unnecessary burden on the commercial sector.

LINK: Red Tape Challenge