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Deregulation – reducing unnecessary red tape…

There are very few of us in business, I would suggest, who have not at some stage cursed at the sheer weight of burdensome and seemingly unnecessary bureaucratic red tape that threatens to strangle an otherwise productive working environment.

And, for once, the Government listened. And they published the Deregulation Bill, which is expected to become law in Autumn 2014.

I quote: “Publication of the draft Bill is the latest step in the Government’s ongoing drive to remove unnecessary bureaucracy that costs British businesses millions, slows down public services like schools and hospitals, and hinders millions of individuals in their daily lives.”


Except that the explanatory notes to the Bill run to 105 pages on their own.

Which either means that the Bill itself is a masterpiece in bureaucracy, or the Government really are serious about slashing a whole host of regulation.

The Bill itself runs to 127 pages, and hence this blog is not, perhaps, the best forum for explaining what is going to happen when it becomes law. But there are a number of interesting principles that underlie the Bill which, if relevant for your business, would be worth investigating in further detail.

For example, 800,000 self-employed workers will be exempted from the volumes of health & safety rules that the UK has accumulated over the years. Fifty selected industry regulators will be restrained in terms of introducing new industry-specific regulations, and instead will be told to focus on sector growth. And the rules relating to apprenticeships will be simplified, which has to be a good thing.

And then there are the more ‘local’ issues – such as making it harder for fines to be imposed on people who mistakenly put their dustbin out on the wrong day, or relaxing the ban on village halls and community centres from showing films without paying extortionate licensing fees.

But then, hidden away deep in the Bill, are the absolute nuggets that make English law such an interesting thing.

The regulations imposed on driving instructors will be simplified, the rules on selling knitting wool and yarns will be relaxed (yes, I bet you didn’t realise there were rules on selling knitting wool and yarns!) and pest control firms may find it easier to remove rabbits in the future.

There are some serious consequences, such as local authorities being banned from using CCTV cameras and ‘spy cars’ to enforce parking restrictions.

But then back to the more enjoyable stuff.

It will, from the date of the Bill becoming law, no longer be an offence to do any of the following:

- placing furniture on the pavement

- creating an ice slide (or ‘slippy curry’) on the pavement when it snows

- annoying people by knocking on their door or ringing their bell … and then running away

- standing on a windowsill in order to clean or paint the outside of your windows

- throwing anything off the roof of your house into the street (except snow, which is fine)

- shaking a mat or rug outside your front door after 8 o’clock in the morning

- carrying wood or timber whilst on the pavement, except if you’re loading/unloading a car or van

- having a pigsty in your front garden

- flying a kite in the street

And I bet you really didn’t realise that these were still criminal offences!

Cheerio, I’m off to fly a kite, up to its highest height, and send it soaring up through the atmosphere, up where the air is clear…


These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.

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