Red Tape UK: How the Coalition is choking our businesses
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After the blizzard of employment laws forced upon small and medium-sized firms under Labour, which are suffocating chances of economic growth, the Coalition promised to help Britain’s small businesses.
David Cameron vowed to create a 'new economic dynamism' and decreed a 'forensic, relentless focus on growth'.
But with the Chancellor's third Budget today, the Government's rhetoric has yet to be matched by its actions.
Inevitably, much of the blame for the Government's failure to help business lies with the tensions between the two Coalition partners.
The Lib Dems are passionate supporters of the EU, and fiercely oppose attempts to slash Brussels red-tape. The party is also committed to 'worker rights'.
Tory attempts to make it easier for firms to get rid of lazy and unproductive workers, following the findings of a report commissioned by ministers which recommended radical reform of employment laws to help economic growth, have been hampered by constant battles with Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable.
You'll be excited to hear that the "Coalition's catalogue of red tape" includes such evils as:
National minimum wage increase
Despite the parlous state of the economy, the minimum wage — a flagship Labour policy — went up from £5.93 to £6.08 per hour for adults. Employers' leaders called it 'the wrong increase at the wrong time' and said it was a 'barrier to job creation'. The minimum wage is uprated annually.
Places onerous new rules on business over the giving and receiving of gifts, hospitality, entertainment and other payments — at home and abroad. Business leaders say smaller firms, faced with costly, time-consuming and complex procedures, will no longer be able to explore new markets.
Also included is something the Mail has previously trumpeted as a good idea:
Number of work permits available to skilled non EU-workers fixed at 21,700 per annum. Policy is supported by campaign groups who want to bring migrant numbers under control, but disliked by businesses, who say it is bureaucratic and restricts their access to skilled labour and makes recruitment harder.