Skip to main content
2 replies [Last post]
kevin's picture
Joined: 09/03/2009

The Government has launched a website challenging the public to help us cut unnecessary regulations.

For years red tape and bureaucracy have been allowed to spiral out of control. Excessive regulation is burdening businesses, hurting our economy and damaging our society.

Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell has welcomed the initiative as an "opportunity to help drive changes".

In a letter to all Permanent Secretaries< he said he was making this work a "high personal priority" and will be meeting regularly to ensure real progress is being made.

Gus O'Donnell said:

It is essential that all government departments use "Red Tape Challenge" to deepen their engagement with businesses, the public and all other stakeholders on regulatory issues, and ensure that creative and credible options for reducing regulation are put to Ministers.

The Prime Minister has also written a letter to all Government Ministers stressing that he wants to "tackle regulation with vigour".

The PM said:

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.  Indeed, I want us to be the first government in modern history to leave office having reduced the overall burden of regulation, rather than increasing it.

Every few weeks the Government will publish all the regulations in one specific sector or industry and ask the public to tell us what’s working and what’s not, what can be simplified and what can be scrapped.

Once we’ve received your feedback Ministers will have three months to work out which regulations should be kept and why.

From 7 April to 5 May the site is open for your thoughts on regulation in the retail sector – and how we can cut it.

Read more: Red Tape Challenge website<<

kevin's picture
Joined: 09/03/2009

Thousands of businesses and members of the public have taken up the Red Tape Challenge, with over 6,000 ideas and suggestions in the first week of the new website, which is part of the Plan for Growth.


Comments have called for changes to, and the end of, many of the rules and regulations that affect the retail sector, from Sunday Trading to bike safety.

Retail sector champion, Dr Kevin Hawkins, welcomed this initial response but urged more retailers, suppliers, trade associations and consumers to get involved and suggest easier, less bureaucratic ways to tackle the issues raised. He said:

“The response so far has been outstanding, but make no mistake this is an opportunity that is too good to miss. For the first time the Government wants to hear from those at the sharp end of the complex, sometimes overwhelming, amount of regulation. Tell us about those rules that really waste your time and money or better still suggest ways of tackling the issues that will make life better for you and your customers.

“And with the burden of responsibility on Ministers to make a case to keep regulations, it’s your voice that will shape the decisions on the way we do business in the UK.”

Over 6,000 comments have been made during the first week of the new website< including discussion around:

  • simplifying the complex range of age restrictions on buying products, making it easier for businesses and consumers to understand;
  • the use of metric and imperial measures and simplifying weights and measures regulation;
  • amendment of the egg marketing regulations so that small scale producers can sell their eggs to local retailers without eggs having to be stamped, promoting growth and local produce; and
  • repeal of Trading with Enemy Orders.

The website also gives the opportunity to comment on a wide range of cross-cutting regulations that affect retailers and consumers, including employment law and health and safety. In future months the website will also deal with other issues that have an impact on the retail sector such as labelling and planning.

The opportunity to comment on regulations affecting the retail sector runs until 4 May. The following day will see the launch of regulations for the hospitality, food and drink sector.

Notes for editors

1. The Red Tape Challenge was launched by the Prime Minister on 7 April, giving the public a chance to have their say on the more than 21,000 regulations that affect their everyday lives.

2. The first five themes of the Red Tape challenge campaign will be:

a. Retail (open for four weeks beginning April 7);
b. Hospitality, food and drink (beginning May 5);
c. Road transportation (beginning May 19);
d. Fisheries, Marine enterprises and inland waterways (beginning June 2nd); and
e. Manufacturing (beginning June 16).

3. The campaign will also have six cross cutting themes that affect all businesses and are open throughout the whole of the campaign. The six cross cutting themes are:

a. Employment law;
b. Pensions;
c. Company law;
d. Equalities;
e. Health and Safety; and
f. Environment legislation.

4. For each sector theme, there is an experienced ‘sector champion’ who will provide expert knowledge on the issues faced by those on the shop floor. The champion acts as an intermediary between the sector and Government and help to direct the web-based debates and discussions.

5. Retail sector champion Dr Kevin Hawkins OBE is a former Director General of the British Retail Consortium and Director of Communications for Safeway Stores plc. Kevin is an economist who has written books on unemployment and industrial relations and has been a member of the Cabinet Office Better Regulation Task Force/Better Regulation Commission.

6. The Government’s plan for growth is available at:<<

kevin's picture
Joined: 09/03/2009

On 7 April 2011, the Government launched a website ‘challenging the public to help us cut unnecessary regulations’.

The Red Tape Challenge website includes reference to the Equality Act 2010, asking whether it should be scrapped, merged, simplified, improved or left as it is.

There is no deadline for submissions and the website is expected to be operating for two years from April 2011.

A number of individuals have posted responses supporting the Act, including the suggestion that the Government should ‘Leave it alone’ or that the Act should be strengthened.

The Discrimination Law Association has produced a briefing encouraging people to support the Act and explaining how to do so. 

Click here< for announcement

Click here< for Red Tape Challenge website

Click here< for Red Tape Challenge website page on equalities

Click here< for Discrimination Law Association briefing

Click here< for Fawcett comment expressing concerns abou the site<