/ Health, Money

Can the public really reduce government red tape?

Man with red tape on his mouth

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?

pickle says:
10 April 2011

It’s an established fact that old laws are NEVER made void until custom makes them so.
Gvernment invariably adds new rules and laws to the old ones – they seem to think that in order to govern you have to make new laws. Somewhere in the rule book is a law which says that hackney carriages (taxis to you and me) mush have a bale of hay on the roof – I don’t think it has been repealed yet.
So – what are the chances of our rulers cutting back on these rules and regulations? NIL!

As I have no faith in this present “Government” – I have no faith that any cutting of red tape will occur unless it is ideologically in tune with the “Government” – That is to help the rich

Mark says:
12 April 2011

I am all in favour of updating laws, for example by producing what is called a consolidated Act of Parliament, as it is virtually impossible to track changes to legislation unless you are a lawyer. However the Red Tape Challenge is largely a PR exercise; on the list for potential repeal are virtually all the consumer protection laws, including many that we are required to have by our membership of the EU. Rather than repealing any of these, they should be made to work better and, yes, simplified.

Elizabeth Norris says:
14 April 2011

I am all for updating laws and regulations but ‘Hallmarking’ is on the list. If we lose hallmarking we lose the guarantee of quality for both buyers and sellers. We would also lose the traceability to the maker and the year of manufacture – no more exciting finds on Antiques Roadshow. I strongly believe that hallmarking should not be scrapped. Hallmarking has been protecting the jewellery trade for 700 years. Do not change it.

Gerry says:
30 April 2011

Now isn’t that ironic? The very a(*&&^l() who are supposed to know everything, and their running our country, while at the same time they are picking/draining us, the public’s brain to get praise, and money for ideas, which are not theirs to start with. It’s like the mugs in the fancy suits who are up in their nest looking down on shop floor, at the workers, these same slabberhead’s, will walk through these same workers picking their brains by pretending to be interested in the work they do, then they hoodwinking the workers, by making remarks about the weather, then some remark about their work. For example what would you think would be a good idea for a,b,c, and without thinking the ordinary worker will make some sort of remark like, o you can do it this way or that way, then the fancy suit boy/boys, will say o yes we were thinking of something similar to that, but well keep that in mind, then hey presto the *&^%$£ad will be making money from an idea of the workers. Yet these same a(*&^%$£s get all the praise and the money.
I hope the public are not stupid enough to fall into the trap of giving their ideas away? Don’t you think there are enough people out of work without getting more to lose their jobs. If the slabberhead’s want info then let them employ those of us who have the info, their looking for Therefore there will be more work around and less big headed people in fancy suites…
Angry and annoyed