HC Deb 22 March 2001 vol 365 cc306-7W
31. Mr. Fabricant

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to reduce the amount of regulation of small and medium-sized businesses. [153662]

Ms Hewitt

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry takes the issue of burdens on business very seriously and is working to ensure that red tape is kept to a minimum, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.

The Department of Trade and Industry announced new proposals to strengthen and improve the employment tribunal system in November 2000. The new measures will help to ease the burden on business caused by weak and ill-founded claims. We are also considering the responses to a consultation on a proposal to exempt small and medium-sized businesses from the requirement to pay merger fees.

The Small Business Service has been set up to work with small firms and Departments to ensure that regulations do not impose unnecessary burdens. The Government have revised guidance on Regulatory Impact Assessments, emphasising the need to think small first in drawing up regulations and to consult with the Small Business Service.