Business Minister Michael Fallon announces good news for UK companies as simplifications to employment, planning and environmental regulations come into force.

The reforms coming into effect on today’s (6 April 2014) Common Commencement Date are part of a drive to cut red tape that is saving firms £1.2 billion a year. They respond directly to issues raised by business, including through the Red Tape Challenge, which invites firms to give their views on which regulations should be removed or improved.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “By reducing government meddling we are creating a better environment in which to do business and laying the foundations for strong and sustained growth. We are on track to be the first government in modern history to reduce the weight of regulation on business.”

To make it easier for businesses to comply with employment law:

  • anyone considering taking their employer to a tribunal must first of all contact Acas, which will offer both parties a free conciliation service to encourage earlier resolution of disputes outside of an Employment Tribunal. This Early Conciliation process launches on 6 April 2014 and will be a legal requirement from 6 May 2014
  • the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) process will be simpler, making business transfers easier for firms while ensuring employees are protected.

Reforms to save businesses time and money include:

  • eliminating around 23.5 million pieces of unnecessary paperwork needed to record waste management. Businesses are no longer required to complete Waste Transfer Notes, which are being replaced with a simpler and less time-consuming electronic system
  • making it easier to convert specific types of development to other uses without the need for full planning permission. This will help make it easier to get empty and redundant buildings back into productive use. These include conversions from retail to residential or banking use, and agricultural to residential or state funded educational use.

As part of the government’s drive to simplify how necessary regulations are enforced, the Primary Authority scheme will be extended to Fire Safety regulations. Primary Authority reduces inconsistency or confusion for firms by enabling businesses to form a statutory partnership with a single local authority, which then provides reliable advice and coordinates inspections and enforcement.

A new Regulators’ Code gains statutory force on 6 April 2014, replacing the Regulators’ Compliance Code. It provides a clear, flexible framework for how regulators should engage with those they regulate.