ROAD TRANSPORT ANNOUNCEMENT – GOVERNMENT SLASHES MOTORING RED TAPE (15 December)

Drivers are to be released from reams of red tape currently required by government, Transport Secretary Justine Greening announced today. Our Road Transport Red Tape Challenge spotlight was live between 20 May and 17 June – and received over 2000 comments. Within the Road Transport Red Tape Challenge theme, DfT placed over 400 regulations online for your views. After removing those that have already lapsed, 376 remain – of which 142 will be scrapped or improved following a vigorous process of challenge. Plans include:

- scrapping the regulation requiring motorists to hold a paper counterpart to their driving licence by 2015 – saving drivers up to £8 millon.

- improving the regulation surrounding the notification process for vehicles that are not in use on the road (Statutory Off Road Notification or SORN). Once drivers have notified the DVLA that their vehicle is SORN, they will no longer have the burden of annual SORN renewal.

- only issuing hard-copies of V5C vehicle registration certificates for fleet operators when needed, with the potential to be rolled out to private motorists.

- introducing a limited exemption from drivers’ hours rules so that those who also drive as Territorial Army reservists in their own time can continue to do so.

Justine Greening said: “Motorists shouldn’t have to keep numerous bits of paper just to prove they can drive and have bought insurance – we live in digital age and we need to embrace that. Reducing the number of rules and regulations in our life is absolutely vital to removing barriers to economic growth and increasing individual freedoms. This whole process just proves that there’s so much sitting on our statute books that at the very least needs a good spring clean or can be scrapped entirely.”

Other proposed changes to road transport regulations include:

- removing the need for an insurance certificate. The Department for Transport will work with the insurance industry on removing the need for motorists to have to hold an insurance certificate.

- abolishing the requirement for drivers to prove they have insurance when applying for tax meaning 600000 more people will be able to tax their car online. This has been made possible by new checks of existing databases for insurance under new Continuous Insurance Enforcement rules. The DVLA’s records are compared regularly with the Motor Insurance Database (MID) to identify registered keepers of vehicles that appear to have no insurance.

- we will look at experience in other countries on driver Certificates of Professional Competence (CPC) – the qualification for professional bus, coach and lorry drivers. In particular, to see if we could remove the need for some sectors, such as farmers who drive stock to market, from needing a CPC.

- local authorities will now have to ensure business interests are properly considered as part of any future proposed Workplace Parking Levy scheme. They must show they have properly and effectively consulted local businesses, have addressed any proper concerns raised and secured support from the local business community.

- abolishing the regulations on the treatment of lost property on buses. Bus companies currently have to wait 48 hours before they can throw away perishable items left on the bus.

Below are a selection of your website comments, which were analysed by DfT in their de-regulatory diagnosis.

You Said: Ross Barret (8 June) – “The counterpart paper driving license should be scrapped. All the necessary information could be easily contained on the photocard licence. It acts merely as a bureaucratic block to people trying to do things. There is no ‘paper counterpart’ to a bank card or passport. This is because it is a totally unnecessary piece of bureaucracy.”

You Said: Chris Chatfield (June 13) – “Reduce regulations for conduct of bus drivers and conductors. These can instead be dealt with under standard employment regulations.”

You Said: Chris (June 12) – “Workplace Parking Levy should be scrapped. It is an unnecessary additional tax on work.”

You Said:
John (June 16) – “The Public Service Vehicle (Lost Property) Regulations could perhaps be deleted; It is in the interests of any operator to assist passengers with lost articles and indeed this should be part of their general business obligations. The regulation is probably superfluous.”

You Said:
Julian (June 16) – “Pedal Cycles (Safety) Regulations 2010 – remove bell requirement.”

Relevant Links

The closed Road Transport spotlight can be viewed here.

The DfT Press Notice can be found here.

The DfT Road Transport web page can be found here.


EMPLOYMENT – YOU SAID, WE DID (23 November)

Last month, the Government announced its plans to radicaly reform the employment law system – cutting unnecessary demands on business while safeguarding workers’ rights. The full BIS press notice can be found here.

Your comments on our Employment Red Tape Challenge theme were used to produce this set of deregulatory proposals – and of the
159 regulations examined in the theme, more than 70 (over 40%), are to be merged, simplified or scrapped. Full details on this package can be found here.

A summary of your comments is below, alongside details of what we doing.

Micro-Moratorium

You said: “If we don’t support small companies and help them employ people, they can never grow big and we won’t have any employers.”

What we are doing: We know that the impact of legislation hits the smallest of businesses harder, and therefore we keep them very much in mind when looking at reducing burdens on employers. We already have in place a three year moratorium on new legislation, including employment law, for micro businesses. We are also investigating options for simplifying the paperwork obligations when taking on a new employee, and will consult further on how companies can let staff go who consistently fail to meet performance objectives.

‘One Click’

You said:
“The number of regulations is terrifying and has made us decide not to expand our husband and wife micro business. We did consider taking someone on at one point but didn’t because we had neither the time nor the expertise to get to grips with the regulations.”

You said: “Much job creation is being held back by the fear of a small employer when looking at the onerous demands made on them with regard to employment regulations.”

What we are doing: We will release better, simpler guidance with the view to providing a ‘one click’ employment service to help employers know what they need to do and how to do it.

Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) – TUPE

You said: “Under TUPE regulations, the requirement to provide employee information to a successor employer is not applied early enough in the transfer process”.

What we are doing: We are consulting on TUPE regulations to look at scope for simplification. The Government issued a call for evidence on 23rd November and will publish a consultation document on any proposed changes in spring 2012.

Flexible Working

You said: “Changes to the legislation does need to be made. More time for both the mother and father should be given. Woman in this society are already delaying having a family due to their careers and trying to keep up with their male counterpart pay grade”.

You Said: “Legislation for flexible working needs to be made so that larger companies cannot manoeuver round it as they seem to be able to in a very big way at the moment”.

What we are doing: The Government consulted on new ideas to support the family in flexible working arrangements through the Modern Workplaces consultation. We will publish our conclusions, and seek parliamentary approval for proposals for legislative change, in 2012.

Employment Tribunals

You Said: “Scrap the ridiculously complex procedural rules for taking complaints to Employment Tribunals”.

You Said: “The growth of small businesses is seriously damaged by the draconian employment laws and subsequent tribunal proceedings”.

You Said: “The Tribunal system should be simplified to allow both employers and employees to access it without the need for legal advice”.

You Said: “Proposals to charge people to take their case to an ET will deny people access to justice”.

What we are doing: Government will be implementing a package of reforms to modernise the employment tribunals system, including doubling the qualifying period for unfair dismissal, promoting early conciliation and mediation and simplifying compromise agreements. We will also be reviewing employment tribunal rules, looking at options for rapid resolution and consulting on options for fee charging.

Relevant Links

The Employment Related Law spotlight is here

RTC Employment Law announcement is here.

The full BIS press notice can be found here.

Vince Cable’s speech to the EEF on reforming employment relations can be found here.

More information on how the Red Tape Challenge works is available here.

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