Friday, 21 May 2010

That Government Programme in Full: 2. Business

  • We will cut red tape by introducing a ‘one-in, one-out’ rule whereby no new regulation is brought in without other regulation being cut by a greater amount.

That's absolutely bloody stupid. If a law is necessary, it's necessary. You don't remove a law just because you add one. You remove one because it's a bad law.

  • We will end the culture of ‘tick-box’ regulation, and instead target inspections on high-risk organisations through co-regulation and improving professional standards.

What the hell does co-regulation mean? And "improving professional standards" sounds pretty worthy, but what if people don't go along with it?

  • We will impose ‘sunset clauses’ on regulations and regulators to ensure that the need for each regulation is regularly reviewed.

I'll believe that when I see it.

  • We will review IR 35, as part of a wholesale review of all small business taxation, and seek to replace it with simpler measures that prevent tax avoidance but do not place undue administrative burdens or uncertainty on the self-employed, or restrict labour market flexibility.

This is just blah. For anyone who doesn't know about IR35, it's regulation to prevent tax avoidance where people would set up companies and then pay themselves dividends, reducing their NI contributions.

In some ways, the purpose of it makes sense, when you consider how Tax and NI work in consideration of dividends. The execution is terrible as it's highly arbitrary. There are no fixed rules about whether you're considered to be in disguised employment or not.

They can come up with some hard and fast rules, and tax avoiders will just play to the edge of them. And in the end it will ignore the real problem: how NI is different on earnings and dividends.

Of course, no party wants to remove NI. The mainstream press are too stupid to even look at it and getting rid of it in a tax neutral way would simply raise the tax rate visible by the media.

  • We will find a practical way to make small business rate relief automatic.

Which shouldn't even exist.

  • We will reform the corporate tax system by simplifying reliefs and allowances, and tackling avoidance, in order to reduce headline rates. Our aim is to create the most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20, while protecting manufacturing industries.


  • We will seek to ensure an injection of private capital into Royal Mail, including opportunities for employee ownership. We will retain Post Office Ltd in public ownership.

Firstly, "ensuring an injection of private capital" is an oxymoron. If you can ensure it then you must be prepared to either use a carrot to get it, so it's not really private any longer. Secondly, I'm all for employee ownership of private businesses, but when you have a monopoly it's pretty pointless.

  • We will seek to ensure a level playing field between small and large retailers by enabling councils to take competition issues into account when drawing up their local plans to shape the direction and type of new retail development.

Oh joy. Useless, inefficient small retailers remain in business, making the rest of us poorer.

  • We will give the public the opportunity to challenge the worst regulations.


  • We will review employment and workplace laws, for employers and employees, to ensure they maximise flexibility for both parties while protecting fairness and providing the competitive environment required for enterprise to thrive.


  • We will make it easier for people to set up new enterprises by cutting the time it takes to start a new business. Our ambition is to make the UK one of the fastest countries in the world to start up a new business. We will reduce the number of forms needed to register a new business, and move towards a ‘one-click’ registration model.

When I set up my company it took less than a day. Before the internet was around. OK, I wouldn't mind it being faster, but it's not that much of a problem.

  • We will end the ban on social tenants starting businesses in their own homes.


  • We will promote small business procurement, in particular by introducing an aspiration that 25% of government contracts should be awarded to small and medium-sized businesses and by publishing government tenders in full online and free of charge.

The better thing would just be to simplify the tendering processes so that small businesses actually have a chance of competing. Or just get government to do less which helps small businesses.

  • We will consider the implementation of the Dyson Review to make the UK the leading hi-tech exporter in Europe, and refocus the research and development tax credit on hi-tech companies, small firms and start-ups.

No. Government shouldn't be involved.

  • We will review the range of factors that can be considered by regulators when takeovers are proposed.


  • We will reinstate an Operating and Financial Review to ensure that directors’ social and environmental duties have to be covered in company reporting, and investigate further ways of improving corporate accountability and transparency.

Sod off. Businesses are there to make money, not to make yurts. If there are things businesses shouldn't do then make law against them.

  • We will ensure that Post Offices are allowed to offer a wide range of services in order to sustain the network, and we will look at the case for developing new sources of revenue, such as the creation of a Post Office Bank.

God that's stupid! The banks have used technology to CLOSE DOWN branches and reduce costs. Creating a bank just to subsidise the rural shops of  middle-class rural dwellers is stupid.

  • We will end the so-called ‘gold-plating’ of EU rules, so that British businesses are not disadvantaged relative to their European competitors.

I don't believe it, but would welcome it if it happened.

  • We will support the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships – joint local authority-business bodies brought forward by local authorities themselves to promote local economic development – to replace Regional Development Agencies (RDAs). These may take the form of the existing RDAs in areas where they are popular.

Waste of money.

  • We will take steps to improve the competitiveness of the UK tourism industry, recognising the important part it plays in our national economy.

Like stopping the building of a 3rd runway at Heathrow?

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