It’s ironic in more ways than one that the UK government has pledged to cut red tape to help small businesses to actually conduct business.
First, while the government is pledging to cut red tape as a pre-budget tantalising titbit to ensure UK plc is more lenient with its criticism when the budget delivers its usual blows next year, this is not the first time it has made these assurances. It made the same promise last year, and the year before that. I am starting to think it’s a seasonal thing; when it gets close to Christmas the government simply thinks ‘hmm cutting red tape, that’s relevant at this time of year’ and before you can think sticky tape and wrapping paper, an announcement is made.
Second, who is going to cut the red tape around cutting the red tape? Even if we give the government the benefit of the doubt and say that the red-tape cutting that has been allegedly going on over the past few years has actually happened, most UK business don’t have the perception that anything has changed at all. And perception is reality.
But while we continue to have this banter with the government, there is yet another side to this tale, for while the government taketh away (the red tape) it also giveth. Hard to believe I know.
But when the mobile phone market was near to saturation, a simple law was passed which meant drivers could no longer use a hand-held phone while driving. Hey presto, an entire new revenue stream appears for the sector, in terms of hands-free and car kits (not to mention the helping hand to the troubled automotive sector in fitting said car kits).
Then just as the margin on CRT and LCD screens begins to drop to where resellers began thinking only a joyless future lay ahead, along comes another law, in the form of the Waste Electric and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) directive, and again, hey presto, businesses get a new revenue stream for the sector, in the form of recycling services and product lifecycle consultancy.
The government ignore business needs? Quite the contrary.
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