Channel players have given a luke warm reception to the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) plans to cut red tape by £1bn.
Announced last week, the DTI’s Simplification Plan centres around delivering over £1bn of regulatory savings to businesses by 2010.
The plan includes sweeping changes to make company law more flexible, as well as easier to understand, saving business over £643m in the next five years. It also intends to transform the way key agencies such as Companies House and the Patent Office operate through deregulation and simpler electronic filing, registration and search systems. The DTI predicted that this would save business a further £230m over the same period.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which has long called for a reduction in red tape, told CRN it broadly welcomed the plan, but said it would prefer to see the changes put into effect immediately, rather than having to wait for them.
“Administrative burdens cost small businesses five times as much and take five times as long to implement as for large enterprises. Any reduction in this burden that the Simplification Plan can bring will be welcome to our members. However, it is essential that the DTI actually delivers the objectives it has set out in its plan,” said John Walker, FSB’s policy chairman.
Mike Lawrence, managing director of VAR Bentpenny, was more skeptical. “I think the government is running short of money and this is just a way for them to get more money. How exactly are they going to reduce red tape? They have announced before that they plan to cut red tape and then nothing has happened. Everyone I’ve spoken to strongly suspects that nothing will happen this time.”
Pete Mistry, technical sales consultant at public sector VAR Eclipse Group, said: “We’ll wait and see. Any new policy that has been introduced over the last 10 years has just brought more red tape with it. The government will put measures in place that give the appearance of cutting red tape, but then nothing will actually change.”
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