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Sophie Cameron

Features and Opinion Editor, Solicitors Journal

Government outlines package of deregulatory reforms to boost the economy

Government outlines package of deregulatory reforms to boost the economy


The reforms aim to cut costs for businesses and support consumers

The Department for Business and Trade unveiled an initial package of deregulatory reforms on 10 May, which aim to reduce unnecessary regulation for businesses and cut costs. According to the government’s press release, reducing red tape and tailoring the rules to the UK economy could save employers around £1bn per year.

This first package of reforms, which is the first in a series of planned deregulation announcements expected throughout this year, aims to take advantage of the UK’s post-Brexit regulatory freedoms. The government’s stated ambition is to create an innovative and agile regulatory regime in the UK.

The new package of reforms includes the following: in order to reduce the business burden the government will reduce time-consuming and disproportionate reporting requirements for specific elements of the Working Time Regulations, while retaining the 48-hour week requirement and upholding existing employment standards, the regulations that apply when a business transfers to a new owner will also be simplified; in order to ensure that regulation is the last response of government the Better Regulation Framework will be reformed to ensure the future regulation of the UK economy is streamlined, forward-looking and minimises burdens on businesses; measures to improve regulators’ focus on economic growth by ensuring regulatory action is taken only when needed and any action taken is proportionate, which includes a consultation on refreshed guidance on how regulators deliver their growth duties; measures to promote competition and productivity in the workplace by limiting the length of non-compete clauses to three months, providing more flexibility for up to 5 million UK workers to join a competitor or start up a rival business after they have left a position; and stimulating innovation, investment and growth by announcing two strategic policy statements to steer UK regulators.

Commenting on the package of measures, Business and Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch said: “I have listened to the concerns of business of all sizes and have made it a priority to tackle the red tape that holds back UK firms, reduces their competitiveness in global markets and hampers their growth. We are taking back control of our laws after Brexit, reducing and improving regulation and giving businesses the freedom to do what they do best – sell innovative products, create jobs and grow the economy.”