The introduction of 73 new pieces of legislation tomorrow on Red Tape Friday highlights the ever increasing flow of new regulation.

Included amongst the 73 separate pieces of legislation that are coming in are:

An extension to the right to request flexible working
Changes to the Construction Industry Scheme
Height at work laws applying to the adventure activity sector
Changes in Pig Marking Requirements
New situations in which statutory dispute resolution procedures apply
The 2007 Burdens Barometer produced by the BCC calculates the cost to UK businesses of regulation introduced since 1998 at more than £55 billion. While new regulation continues to flow the Government fails to assess the impact on business effectively. Research published on Monday by the British Chambers of Commerce highlights the shortcomings of the Regulatory Impact Assessment. ‘The Burden of Regulation: Who is watching out for us’ is authored by Tim Ambler (London Business School) and Francis Chittenden (Manchester Business School). Key findings include:

71% of RIAs assign benefits to business without quantifying them.
16% have no small firms impact test (against Cabinet Office guidance)
Less than 8% of those that carry out a small firms impact test assign additional costs to small business.
Over half of UK RIAs do not explore the ‘do nothing’ option.
David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“The Government claims it is committed to reducing the burden of red tape yet ‘Red Tape Friday’ shows that the mantra in Whitehall appears to be when in doubt, regulate.

“Our biggest concern is that the checks are not in place to assess the impact of new regulation effectively. Our research highlights serious cracks in the Regulatory Impact Assessment process which urgently need to be repaired if we are to realise the vision of a globally competitive economy.

"What is most worrying is that government is failing to think small first, when you consider that SMEs are the largest employers in the private sector and the drivers of growth across Europe this is a deeply concerning omission."