UK companies 'boosted' as red tape-busting reforms come into force

UK businesses are set for a boost this week as a number of measures aimed at cutting bureaucracy are being implemented, according to Business Minister Michael Fallon.

As part of the Coalition administration's bid to make the UK the best place to start and grow a business, the reforms are being labelled as "common-sense cuts" to red tape.

Ministers previously launched the Red Tape Challenge, which asked firms to make suggestions on rules or regulations which could be altered or abolished. A number of the reforms are based on ideas put forward in that consultation.

According to the Government, one of the major changes will see civil liability rules changed to ensure that companies who have taken all reasonable steps to protect their employees are not held responsible for workplace accidents.

Other changes coming into force this week include the mandatory reporting of workplace injuries for businesses being simplified, while making sure that the data collected gives an accurate picture of workplace incidents.

There will also be a change in third party harassment legislation. Under the revisions, employers will no longer be explicitly liable for third party harassment of staff, for example by customers or members of the public.

Meanwhile, the Health and Safety Executive will no longer be required to approve training and qualifications for appointed first-aid personnel.

And 'Primary Authority' is to be extended to cover more regulations and reformed to be more accessible to small businesses. Company reporting requirements are also set to be simplified.

Mr Fallon said that smaller employers could benefit from the changes. He added: "For small firms, less time spent filling in forms means more time planning the next project, winning the next contract or looking for the next young recruit.

"Reducing government interference is improving Britain's international reputation as a low-regulation, pro-business nation, but more must be done. To give our firms the best chance of winning on the global stage, we will press for more cuts in red tape in Europe, as well as at home."

Copyright Press Association 2013