Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced ambitious reviews into burdensome red tape in five key industry sectors, including agriculture.
The reviews are the first step to working with British businesses to axe unnecessary regulation and its poor implementation by a further £10 billion over the course of this Parliament. The Government is appealing to businesses to come forward and flag areas for change through the new Cutting Red Tape initiative, in order to reduce bureaucratic barriers to growth and productivity.
One of the five reviews is ‘Agriculture Information Requirements’. This review is seeking evidence of unnecessary burdens when reporting information to national and local government in the agricultural sector. Research suggests that reporting on animal health and farming currently takes 1.7m people hours per year at a cost of £77m. A call for evidence has been launched by Government with a closing date of 14 September.
The review will build on Defra’s existing programme of work to reduce burdens on farmers by seeking examples and evidence on any information requirements in England by Government, national regulators and local authorities which affects the reporting burden on the farming sector. The review is particularly interested in evidence of:
- The effect on, and costs incurred by, small companies on information reporting requirements
- The effect and proportionality of information reporting requests which impact upon the activities of business
- The impact of information reporting derived from health and safety issues
- The impact and usefulness of information requirements, particularly in areas where there appears to be regulatory overlap
- Any aspects of information reporting that could be made simpler or more efficient
- Areas of good practice that could be replicated elsewhere
Minette Batters, NFU Deputy President said: “Although progress is being made by Government in cutting red tape, it must act with more urgency so that farmers can see the benefits on the ground.
"For example, we need to see an implementation of all the Macdonald review recommendations on reducing red-tape, as highlighted by the Independent Farming Regulation Task Force in 2014, including a reduction in the inspection burden through risk based approaches, earned recognition for Red Tractor assured farm businesses and a better co-ordination between regulatory agencies.
"We want to be in a position where farmers and growers can focus on the business of producing British food rather than being professional form-fillers. It is for this reason that the NFU welcomes the launch today of the Government’s Cutting Red Tape Review of the agricultural sector.”
The NFU will be responding to the call for evidence. We are keen to hear from members on information requirements that impact on their business. We are particularly keen to hear about where information requirements could be made simpler or more efficient and what impact and costs businesses are faced with from information reporting requirements. Views can be sent to Lee Osborne.
Businesses can also feed back their thoughts to the Cutting Red Tape initiative by posting comments on the Agriculture Cutting Red Tape website or through Twitter:@cutredtapeUK using the hashtag #cutredtape; or via email to Y3V0dGluZ3JlZHRhcGVAYmlzLmdzaS5nb3YudWs=