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Saving business time and money

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Released 30 Sep 2008

A number of important business laws come into force tomorrow.

To save business time and money Government departments now issue all their changes to business regulations on only two dates per year - 6 April and 1 October.

This is part of the Government's overall approach to promote better regulation, regulating only where necessary, doing so in a proportionate and targeted way, and reducing bureaucracy wherever possible.

Small businesses have estimated that up to 10% of time - or 628 million per year - can be saved through changes to the law being announced on two 'common commencement dates'.

Business and Competitiveness Minister Shriti Vadera said:

"Business asked the Government for Common Commencement dates. They help companies to plan ahead and save money.

"Many of the important changes coming into effect this October bring significant benefits for businesses. For example, abolishing the need to display insurance certificates and simplifying information requirements for firms will save them about 80million."

"Certain regulation is necessary to protect people and businesses across the UK. It ensures a level playing field, promotes competition and allows markets to operate effectively.

"However, we do understand that regulation is a concern for business. This is why we are driving forward an ambitious programme to save business and the third sector 3.5 billion in administrative costs by 2010."

In order to help companies adapt quickly and easily to the new rules, simplified guidance for implementing the new regulations has been designed with the help of business. This has been distributed through trade and professional organisations to over a million businesses of all sizes.

The most significant changes coming into force are:

* The minimum wage for workers aged 22 and over will increase from 5.52 to 5.73. The rate for 18-21 year olds will rise from 4.60 to 4.77, while 16 and 17 year olds will see an increase from 3.40 to 3.53 per hour.

* A requirement for all tobacco products to carry graphic picture warnings to illustrate the devastating effects that tobacco can have on health.

* Further provisions of the Companies Act 2006 which improve company law and reduce burdens on companies. For example: changes will crackdown on company name "squatters" - businesses that find their trading names have been registered at Companies House as company names by so-called squatters can now challenge for ownership of the name.

* The final parts of the Consumer Credit Act 2006 which protects consumers and puts in place a more level playing field for businesses in the credit market. For example: lenders will have to provide consumers with better information about their debts (such as loans, credit cards or store cards).

* Removing rules that require physical copies of Employers' Liability Compulsory Insurance certificates to be displayed and retained for 40 years. Businesses will now be able to do this electronically.

* All estate agents will be required to join a redress scheme. The scheme will be transparent, independent and fair. It will speedily resolve complaints and will have the power to award compensation to consumers.

* "Doorstep selling" regulations will protect people when they buy products and services from traders at home. The new rules give people a legal right of seven days in which they can change their mind. Previously, people only had these cancellation rights if a trader's visit was not pre-arranged.

* Measures to further tighten UK strategic export controls - including stricter controls for trading in cluster munitions, and extending controls for small arms and Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) so that they apply to UK citizens anywhere in the world.

The key government Departments which introduce business regulations on the 6 April and 1 October are BERR, DEFRA, Communities and Local Government, Home Office, HSE and Food Standards Agency. The new regulations can be found at http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/ccd

Approximately 50 changes will come into force, but the vast majority of these are small technical amendments needed to update existing rules and will have no impact on most businesses.

Notes

1. The Better Regulation Executive is taking forward the Government's better regulation agenda. http://bre.berr.gov.uk/regulation/

2. Examples of how individuals and businesses are benefiting from changes to regulation can be found on http://www.betterregulation.gov.uk . The site also invites suggestions for what else can be done to reduce red tape.

3. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform helps UK business succeed in an increasingly competitive world. It promotes business growth and a strong enterprise economy, leads the better regulation agenda and champions free and fair markets. It is the shareholder in a number of Government-owned assets and it works to secure, clean and competitively priced energy supplies


About the Author

Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BERR- Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform replacing DTI - Department for Trade and Industry. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.


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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-10-01 10:01:05 in Business Articles

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