§ Ms Hewitt
[holding answer 25 June 2001]Ensuring that regulation is effective and not burdensome is a key issue for business, and therefore for my Department. We will be working closely with the Cabinet Office and the Better Regulation Task Force to ensure that business concerns are understood and that my Department regulates only where necessary and with a light touch. The Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South (Nigel Griffiths), will have specific responsibility for regulatory reform within my Department.
Key measures enacted since May 1997 for which this Department is responsible which have resulted in cost savings for business are as follows
- The Companies Act 1985 (Audit Exemption) (Amendment) Regulations 2000 raised to £1 million the turnover threshold before companies are subject to an annual external statutory audit of their accounts.
- The Companies Act 1985 (Electronic Communications) Order 2000 removed restrictions on companies' use of electronic media when communicating with their members and with Companies House.
- The Wireless Telegraphy (Short Range Devices) (Exemption) (Amendment) Regulations 1997 removed certain radio equipment from licensing requirements.
- The Hallmarking (Hallmarking Act Amendment) Order 1998 extended the category of articles exempted from hallmarking requirements to articles produced before 1920. rather than 1900.
- The Wireless Telegraphy (Exemption) Regulations 1999 exempted certain radio equipment from licensing requirements.
- The Consumer Credit (Exempt Agreements) (Amendment) Order 1999 exempted credit unions and other non-commercial fixed-rate low-cost loan providers from regulation.
- The Companies (Forms) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 removed the requirement to include certain information in companies' returns to Companies House, including former names and directors' other directorships.
- The Gas Act 1986 (Gas Storage) (Exemptions) Order 1999 and two subsidiary Orders exempted persons operating certain types of gas storage facility from the need to have a Public Gas Transporter licence.
- The Companies (Investment Companies) (Distribution of Profits) Regulations 1999 removed restrictions on companies which prevented them from using capital profits to repurchase their own shares.
- The Consumer Credit (Content of Quotations) and Consumer Credit (Advertisements) (Amendments) Regulations 1999 removed the requirement for warning statements to be included in TV. cinema, and radio advertisements for credit involving taking on a mortgage.
- The Partnerships (Unrestricted Size) No. 14 Regulations exempted Chartered Surveyors from the law restricting the number of partners in a given firm to 20.
- The Insolvency (Amendment) Regulations 2000 enabled members of the Insolvency Services Account to pay and receive moneys by electronic transfer.
- The Wireless Telegraphy (Citizens Band Amateur Apparatus) (Various Provisions) (Amendment) Order 2000 removed all restrictions on the import and manufacture of citizens' band radio equipment.
- The Electricity (Class Exemptions from the Requirement for a License) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2000 allowed more owners of small power stations to generate electricity without needing a licence.
- The Merger (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2001 exempt small and medium-sized firms engaged in merger activity from the requirement to pay a fee where the merger falls to be scrutinised by the Office of Fair Trading.