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Companies face ’60 red-tape rules’

Companies face ’60 red-tape rules’

British businesses typically have to comply with 60 different regulations governed by a range of different official bodies, and many breach the rules simply because they do not know which regulations apply to them, according to a report published today.

The National Audit Office (NAO) report warned that Government departments do not communicate effectively on the regulations they impose and do not know what the total impact of red tape is on British businesses.

A study by the Better Regulation Executive (BRE) last March projected a £9.9 billion additional cost of 265 new regulations which could be imposed over the following year – but calculated that the benefit to society of the new rules would be £11.6 billion.

But there was no estimate available of the total cost to business of the vast array of regulations introduced over the years, said the NAO.

The report found that the BRE – established in 2005 – and Government departments are "not yet in a position to achieve value for money in their management of regulation".

However, the spending watchdog found that they have have developed important elements of a structured approach to reducing regulatory costs and have delivered significant benefits.

Last year's Coalition Agreement promised a "one-in, one-out" rule under which no new regulation can be implemented by ministers unless an existing one is scrapped.

The Government also promised to end the culture of "tick-box" regulation and to subject new regulations to "sunset clauses" which will see them automatically lapse unless they are renewed by a certain date.

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