M&S, Kingfisher and Diageo heads draw up suggestions for EU business regulation

A business taskforce including M&S chief Marc Bolland, Kingfisher's Ian Cheshire and Paul Walsh of Diageo has drawn up 30 proposals to cut red tape in the EU.


A business taskforce including M&S chief Marc Bolland, Kingfisher’s Ian Cheshire and Paul Walsh of Diageo has drawn up 30 proposals to cut red tape in the EU.

In an effort to stimulate the EU single market, a group of UK business leaders are putting forward their own suggestions.

As part of its ‘Cut EU red tape’ report, the six-man taskforce is recommending 30 ways to eradicate barriers to growth in the continent and save unnecessary administration costs.

Amongst its suggestions is a call to scrap EU-wide small business requirements, which make it necessary to keep written health and safety risk assessments in low-risk sectors. The six would also like to see a reform to employment law stopping the creation of new jobs and exempting all micro businesses from all new employment law.

The taskforce, made up of Marc Bolland (M&S), Ian Cheshire (Kingfisher), Glenn Cooper (ATG Access), Louise Makin (BTG), Dale Murray (entrepreneur and angel) and Paul Walsh (Diageo), was chaired by business minister Michael Fallon and consulted 100 ‘business voices’ throughout Europe.

Murray, who co-founded Omega Logic and was awarded British Angel Investor of the Year in 2011, says, ‘Small businesses are disproportionately impacted by red tape.

‘All businesses want to focus on the real work of selling more products, making their operations more efficient and employing more people.’

Also on the list of proposals is the removal of plans which would see small businesses paying fees to register to collect and transport waste, taking action to make chemical regulation easier and simplifying e-commerce aspects such as labelling requirements and cross-border parcel delivery.

More on regulation cuts:

The taskforce’s findings have been welcomed by David Cameron says, ‘We must now persuade our European partners and the European Commission to listen to business and to move faster to reform the way Europe regulates.

‘At next week’s European Council, I’ll calling for a clear commitment to sweep away unnecessary bureaucratic barriers and to unleash private sector growth – helping to secure the economic recovery for all.’

On top of its calls for EU change, the taskforce has put together a set of principles so that all new EU legislation is checked to make sure that it is pro-growth. It would work on the same principle as the coalition’s ‘One-in, One-out’ and subsequent ‘One-in, Two-out’ rules meaning that any new regulation must be offset by greater savings.

Cheshire adds, ‘European rules start with good ideas but can lose their way when they are implemented.

‘When you have a vast footprint in Europe, and if you’re trading across multiple EU borders, smooth implementation and certainty of a level playing field.’

Hunter Ruthven

Bernard Williamson

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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