The total burden of business regulations on small businesses is excessive.
Last week, regional business leaders in the West Midlands argued that employment generation has been stifled by overly onerous employment legislation.
With employment tribunals costing, on average, small businesses about £15,000, it is hard not to see why.
It is not just employment legislation. Suppose you ran a garden centre business – a limited company with 17 workers.
You would face 58 separate regulations, says the Government’s Better Regulation Executive.
As a small business owner, your responsibility – everything from collecting and recycling batteries to the appropriate licensing of a fork lift – is to ensure that your business was compliant with all these regulations.
You might make the case that each of these regulations is necessary.
You might argue that regulations can be positive – they protect consumers and workers.
You might also argue that the regulation debate misses the real issues facing small businesses (it’s the economy, stupid).
You might even argue that small businesses have very little to complain about in terms of regulation.
The World Bank shows that the UK has been and continues to be one of the easiest places in the world to set up and run your own business.
That, though, perhaps misses the point for small businesses.
Sure, each regulation might be justified.
But the total effect is that small business owners spend time that arguably ought to be given over to running and growing their business.