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Government calls on hospitality operators to help ditch red tape

29 April 2011
Government calls on hospitality operators to help ditch red tape

The government is urging the hospitality sector to have its say on ways to cut red tape as part of a major new initiative.

The Red Tape Challenge](http://www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk) is giving businesses - including hotels, restaurants and pubs - the chance to tell coalition ministers which regulations they want scrapped.

The Prime Minister David Cameron said he aims to be part of "the first government in modern history to leave office having reduced the overall burden of regulation rather than increasing it".

The scheme's website was launched earlier this month - and the hospitality sector will get to have its say from next week.

Businesses and the public will have two weeks to say which rules work, what should be simplified and what should be scrapped.

The retail sector is currently having its say - and more than 6,000 ideas and suggestions have already been put forward.

Health and safety, food regulations and employment law are all areas that operators will be expected to be given a say on.

Ron Tapping, joint owner of Charnley Gold hotel, Blackpool, said the main problem was the extra cost factors involved with red tape. "In Blackpool we have to absorb any extra costs because we can't put our prices up as it's so competitive here," he said.

John Scott, general manager at independent restaurant Frere Jacques, in Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey, said he would be looking closely at the list of regulations when it is published. "There is a lot of extra work we have to do," he said. "But a lot of it is important, such as health and safety."

And Bill Sharp, licensee at the Kings Arms, in Borough, London, said he wanted to see an end to the "one-size-fits-all" approach to regulation. "Nobody wants to cut corners, but there are things that need to be revisited, like the asbestos register," he said.

A BBPA spokesman said its campaigns to end alcohol disorder zones and the requirement for triennial licensing reviews prove that rolling back nonsensical rules can be done.

He added: "Let's give small businesses an exemption from licensing requirements for live music for events attracting an audience of fewer than 200. We also want to simplify the logging of national insurance contributions, which places a burden on pubs and creates a barrier to job creation."

Government ministers will have three months after the consultation has finished to work out which regulations they want to keep and why.

Cameron appeared fully behind the initiative, vowing to "tackle regulation with vigour". He added: "There are over 21,000 statutory rules and regulations in force, and I want us to bring that number - and the burden it represents - down."

However, one industry insider told Caterer: "There are a lot of European regulations that we can't do anything about. I don't think there will be a great ‘bonfire of regulations' as some people have said."

WHAT WOULD YOU SCRAP? HAVE YOUR SAY

A full set of regulations covering the hospitality sector is published on the Red Tape Challenge website. The industry is urged to tell the Government what's working and what's not, what can be simplified and what can be scrapped. Based on this feedback, it will then consider getting rid of unnecessary red tape. You need to add your comments by 20 May 2011.
www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk
By James Wilmore

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