This month secretary of state for business Vince Cable launched a new public consultation that gives local shops and members of the public the opportunity to highlight which regulations they think should be scrapped.
There are eight topics in the 'Retail Challenge', ranging from consumer information to trading requirements. Some cynics have already criticised this as a publicity stunt and doubt it will lead to change. There is always that risk with government initiatives, but having spent time with the current crop of ministers I don't doubt their desire to effect real change. On that basis, the website presents an opportunity for you to highlight the unnecessary red tape that costs you time and money.
In its first week it has attracted a range of comments on all of the issues, but the focus point has been around the issue of Sunday trading regulations. As of writing, there are already more than 1,000 comments both from those in support of keeping the regulations and those who want to see them relaxed or scrapped altogether.
Sunday trading regulations are one of the few pieces of legislation that give local shops an advantage in a market increasingly dominated by supermarkets. Many small stores do a significant percentage of their business outside of the six-hour window on a Sunday, so to allow larger retailers into that market place would be a significant blow.
The website (www.redtapechallenge.cabinet-office.gov.uk) will be live until early May and the feedback analysed over three months. The presumption is that unless there is a compelling case for a regulation to be retained it should be scrapped, so we urge you to make your case, both to keep Sunday trading hours and to cut other regulations that put a burden on your business.