According to official figures, the measures are expected to save companies over £350m a year and the biggest beneficiaries will be small businesses. According to the Treasury’s budget report “the presumption will be that all regulations identified as burdensome would be removed, unless good reasons are given for them to stay.”
The changes include scrapping legislation that would have given staff of companies employing less than 250 people the statutory right to request time off to study or train and a moratorium on all new regulations applying to companies employing fewer than 10 staff and on all UK start-ups for three years from 1 April, and a public "thematic review" to reduce the volume of regulation.
However, one element of the ‘bonfire’ has received a less favourable response than given to most of the others. In the budget, the Government also scrapped proposed new dual-discrimination regulations that would have allowed employees at companies of any size to bring two discrimination claims simultaneously, such as age and gender.
This has brought condemnation from organisations representing women and older people. For example, the Fawcett Society, which promotes women’s rights, has said that 75% of the half a million people set to lose their jobs in local government will be women. Societies, such as Age Concern, have voiced concerns over the postponement of new age equality provisions for small businesses.
It would appear that when lighting a fire, it is almost impossible to ensure that no-one gets burned.
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