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Cost of red tape compliance on the rise

Businesses are spending more time and money on complying with regulations than ever before, latest research has shown.

According to a new survey by the Forum of Private Business (FPB), small firms spent a total of £16.8 billion on legal compliance last year, equating to an average of £14,200 per firm.

Of the 4,800 business owners polled, more than eight in 10 (84%) said they were spending more time on legislation than in 2009, while 67% revealed that they were spending more money on contracting external consultants to help minimise the burden.

The FPB argues that Government measures aimed at reducing the regulatory burden, such as the scrapping of £350 million of business regulations and a three-year moratorium on new regulations for firms with fewer than 10 staff, have yet to have an impact.

‘Despite several government initiatives – some more effective than others – it is clear that we are heading in the wrong direction as far as reducing regulation for small business owners is concerned,’ said the Forum's Head of Campaigns Jane Bennett.

‘We simply want these measures to work properly and for the voices of the UK's business owners to be clearly heard.’