Business Regulation: 30th June 2015

Helen Whately (Faversham and Mid Kent) (Con)
8. What steps he is taking to reduce regulation of businesses. [900637]

The Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise (Anna Soubry)
As we have heard, the Government are committed to reducing the regulatory burden on all businesses. The one in, two out initiative has put a real brake on the introduction of new regulations. Through the enterprise Bill, we will target regulators’ actions as part of our commitment to cut a further £10 billion of red tape for the benefit of businesses.

Helen Whately
I thank my right hon. Friend for her answer. There are many pubs in my constituency, as well as the Shepherd Neame brewery and the Whitstable brewery. These local businesses are important as employers, and for their role in rural communities. Outdated bureaucracy is one more hurdle for them to overcome. For instance, pubs are required to advertise changes in their licence, costing about £500 a time, and many local authorities require licence fees to be paid by cheque, rather than allowing more modern methods of payment. What steps will the Government take to reduce the burden of bureaucracy on pubs and breweries?

Anna Soubry
I welcome my hon. Friend to her place and thank her for her question. She provides examples of exactly the sort of regulation that we are seeking to look at and, indeed, to remove if necessary. That is ​why I will shortly announce a new Twitter account, @CutRedTapeUK, which no doubt—[Interruption.] It is all right. I am familiar with Twitter—oh, yes—and hashtags. I am trying to make the very serious point, which may be lost on Opposition Members, that we want to hear from businesses, and indeed from anybody, about the red tape, regulation and the burden it imposes, notably on small businesses, so that we can cut it.

Nick Smith (Blaenau Gwent) (Lab)
20. The summer sporting and music calendar is in full swing, but fans are being let down by shady ticket sellers. This week, Taylor Swift fans are disappointed after the company from which they have bought tickets online disappeared without trace. When can we have better regulation of the secondary ticket market so that fans are not ripped off? [Interruption.] [900649]

Anna Soubry
I have heard of Taylor Swift, too. We are doing a review of that because we recognise that there is a problem. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman is straining to hear above all the chuntering on the Benches in front of him. I think my hon. Friend the Minister for Skills has responsibility for that—we are aware of the problem and we are doing a review—but I am more than happy to meet him to talk about it.

Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con)
Does my right hon. Friend agree that key to reducing regulation will be renegotiation in Brussels, so will she #congratulate the Secretary of State, who is sitting right by her, for his brilliant speech last night to the CBI, telling it that to argue against Brexit is madness before we have actually renegotiated anything?

Anna Soubry
I think I should just say yes, Mr Speaker, but I would add that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State was actually talking about all businesses, not just those here.

Bill Esterson (Sefton Central) (Lab)
I am sure that businesses will tell the Minister on Twitter what they told Ernst and Young, which is that the number of regulations has gone up, not down, under this Government. Is not the reality that this Government are all talk and no action when it comes to getting rid of regulations?
 
Anna Soubry
I am tempted to say, “The hon. Gentleman would know, wouldn’t he?” I am really surprised at his churlish attitude, and I absolutely do not agree with what he has been told. We know, because it was properly evaluated, that under the previous Administration we actually achieved £10 billion of savings for businesses by cutting red tape. The hon. Gentleman should welcome and praise that.