At a meeting of small businesses with Nick Clegg this morning, ACS Chief Executive James Lowman called on the Deputy Prime Minister to extend the moratorium on new employment legislation to more businesses, and to reduce burdens from local government and enforcement practices.

In his speech, the Deputy Prime Minister proposed a loosening of rules around inspections and said that it would be up to the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive to follow the Government’s lead and “liberate” small businesses from the grip of red tape.

At the event, Clegg said: “On average, for every hour someone in a big company spends on paperwork, someone in a smaller firm spends nearly nine hours.

“The typical small business owner says they are spending around a day a week complying with government regulation rather than bringing in new business. That is bad enough in the good times. It makes even less sense when times are tough.”

ACS Chief Executive James Lowman said: “The Government is setting the right agenda for tackling the burden of regulation, but it needs to go further and faster. Special dispensation applying to micro-businesses should be extended to more small firms.

“The culture of better regulation has to stretch to town halls as well as Whitehall, especially with more regulatory decisions being made at a local level.”

On the Deputy Prime Minister’s pledge to make compliance with the tax regime simpler and less costly, James Lowman added: “We would like to hear from retailers details of how the tax system could be made less costly and bureaucratic. We need to hold the Government to this pledge.”

ACS has been heavily involved with efforts to cut regulatory burdens, including the Red Tape Challenge, and the Local Better Regulation Office’s work to reduce enforcement burdens.