The British Chambers of Commerce have an unequalled reputation for strong credible research on regulation and red tape. Our key annual publications are our Burdens Barometer, the 2006 figure was £50.27bn which is the total cost to business of major regulations approved since 1998. We also produce an annual Regulatory Impact Assessment report which has really driven the debate on the future role of this key policy making tool. What our latest report offers us is a different perspective on the debate rather than looking at regulation in macro terms this report focuses on the micro, the lives and livelihoods of UK businessmen and women and how regulation is distracting them from growing and running successful enterprises.See the latest report by visiting http://www.chamberonline.co.uk/policy/pdf/Redtape_the_real_story.pdf

This type of study is one that the BCC is uniquely positioned to produce with a vast network of more than 100,000 member businesses employing more than 5 million people. These businesses are spread right across the UK and are cross sector.

What comes across more than anything else from these case studies is the time that compliance with red tape costs businesses. This could be the time spent submitting the same information to the Office of National Statistics or the layers of red tape that prevent small businesses from winning a tendered contract. For a small business time taken away from their core activities is productivity and profits lost and in the global economy in which we now find ourselves this can be the difference between success and failure.

Small to Medium Enterprises are the backbone of our economy and where possible government needs to boost their competitiveness. Addressing some of the issues raised in this document would certainly be a start.

Regulation & Employment Policy Adviser
The British Chambers of Commerce