Cutting through the red tape

In the wake of some disappointing growth figures, it is hardly surprising that government should be seeking to stimulate the manufacturing sector in any way it can.

The latest comes in the form of its call to manufacturers to take part in a government consultation to get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy. This so-called 'Red Tape Challenge', which opened on 21 July, is open until August 11 and offers manufacturers the opportunity to log on to the Challenge site ( and share their opinions about the regulations that affect them – which should stay, which should be simplified and which should be removed.

The government claims that the default presumption will be that burdensome regulations will go. If Ministers want to keep them, they will have to make solid cases for them to stay. Manufacturing minister Mark Prisk said of the scheme: "Our manufacturing sector is at the centre of our plans to rebalance the economy and promote sustainable private sector growth. That's why cutting back the bureaucracy and the red-tape that you have to deal with every day is one of my main priorities. I want our manufacturers to be making things, not filling out forms."

Clearly, this is to be welcomed. 'Red tape' in its various forms features prominently in any list of manufacturers' complaints and with good reason. And, while it is possible to be cynical about the possible effectiveness of such consultation, that is no reason to pass up this opportunity to make manufacturing's voice heard. Those wishing to contribute should visit the Red Tape Challenge website . Input will then be reviewed by Ministers who have three months to decide which regulations they will scrap.

Paul Fanning

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