UK business
Britain to scrap or modify business laws

The UK government is planning to slash reams of red tape by scrapping or simplifying hundreds of regulations currently blighting British businesses.

Following a nationwide campaign to tackle business red tape, named the Company and Commercial Law Red Tape Challenge, half of the 115 regulations regarding the day-to-day running of a company and the preparing and filing of their accounts are to be scrapped, merged or simplified.

The planned change in the law book would remove redundant legislation and make remaining regulations simpler to understand.

"The Companies Act is understandably a complex bit of law. However, there are many areas where this has resulted in companies unnecessarily being tied down by red tape," Business Minister Jo Swinson said in a statement.

"Businesses told us through this bureaucracy cutting exercise just how time consuming some of the form-filling is and how the rules they have to abide by are completely redundant. We have heard them loud and clear and are now taking action."

The government is also planning to reform the company and business names regime, simplify regulations on displaying the company name at company premises, on paper or online, and remove micro-businesses from certain accounting requirements.

The Companies Act will be amended to simplify the system for companies to use assets to raise finance, streamline company annual reporting requirements and repeal certain filing obligations when companies change their auditors.

"These changes are common sense and make business sense. We are determined to create a flexible business environment for companies to flourish in so they can compete globally and help grow the economy," Swinson added.

The Companies Act in 2006 had consolidated and simplified many aspects of business legislation. Nevertheless, it has little day-to-day impact on the functioning of smaller companies, as it remains largely the province of corporate lawyers and other specialists.

The proposed changes are expected to help company directors with a better understanding of important company documents.