The government has launched the ‘red tape challenge’ – an opportunity for everyone to have a say on the 21,000 rules that impact our lives. But can we tell them what they need to know – and will they really listen?
So what’s this all about? Every few weeks over the next two years, the government will post all the regulations affecting one specific sector or industry on the ‘Red Tape Challenge’ website.
The idea is to get the public and businesses to tell them how the rules are working, what can be simplified and what can be scrapped. Based on this feedback, the government will then start getting rid of unnecessary red tape.
You respond, government acts – or does it?
All the comments submitted will be public, so it seems like a great way for upfront discussion about the regulations, and to hear from industry about the rules that don’t work for them.
But are we – or businesses – best placed to make that call? And will Joe Public’s comments really be considered? I wonder whether the government will ‘act’ on what they discover.
I’m often overwhelmed by the complication of regulations. It’s rare for a regulation to stand alone; it’s nearly always connected to, or has a knock-on effect on, other issues. So it seems unlikely that me saying I don’t like a particular law will really have an impact on its existence.
Can we reduce the red tape?
I’m all for a reduction in red tape and unnecessary rules and judging by some of the comments already submitted, there are quite a few things people think don’t contribute to the regulatory landscape.
My favourite comment is from Kevin who says, ‘if a product is plainly a “pack of cashew nuts” or jar of “peanut butter” please don’t make idiotic labelling like WARNING: CONTAINS NUTS’. Fair point, I think.
So the first ‘challenge’ is retail – an issue close to Which?’s heart. But rather than discuss the merits of the Sales of Goods Act or Distance Selling Regulations, I’d like to go back to basics and discuss the challenge itself.
What do you think of this latest initiative – will it work? Will you contribute, or should it (like the 21,000 pieces of regulation) be up for review – and potentially scrapped?