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EU regulation cuts benefit SMEs

British businesses have saved more than £200 million during the first year of a government campaign to reduce EU regulations, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced.

Last year, the government's EU taskforce issued a list of 30 recommendations to the EU Commission of which 10 have been acted upon.

Small and medium-sized businesses have benefited from a number of the changes. These include:

  • small firms are not included in new EU rules for non-financial reporting
  • legislation regulating traineeships has not been imposed on UK employers
  • the number and length of Environmental Impact Assessments should be reduced
  • SMEs that transport non-hazardous waste could be exempted from registering as waste carriers.

BIS calculates that the changes to regulation have:

  • saved UK businesses around £100 million
  • prevented at least £100 million in extra costs
  • provided £40 million in one-off savings to firms.

However, Business Minister Matthew Hancock said it is "imperative" that the Commission continues to reduce European legislation.

John Allan, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said the government had achieved progress but that further action was needed:

"We are pleased by their early progress, particularly in getting the Commission to take up the cause of exempting small businesses from burdensome bureaucracy around waste disposal. However, there is clearly more to be done in Brussels to change the culture towards regulation, and we will continue working with the UK government to make the case for EU rules designed with small firms in mind."

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