New laws cost North East firms £730m

BUSINESSES in the North East will are facing collective costs of £730m over the next four years as they implement new employment laws, according to new data.

 The Government is bringing in a mass of fresh employment legislation starting from April this year which will increase the burden on companies. The additional burden comes at a time when the coalition parties have put the onus on the business community to keep the economy growing amid major spending cuts.

 The North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) today said that while the intention behind the new laws is well meaning, the Government needs to give greater support for companies faced with implementing the additional legislation.

 Ross Smith, NECC head of policy, said: “Firms face no fewer than seven major changes to employment law in this year alone and yet the level of support from the Government to help companies through this transition is virtually non-existent.

 “The Government has taken radical steps to reduce the public sector debt and in doing so is relying on the private sector to fill the gap this creates in the economy. Businesses are growing but the Government will need to do more to support companies if their expansion is to offset the level of spending cuts.”

 NECC is urging the Government to act swiftly to identify and remove unnecessary legislative burdens on businesses so that the latest law changes are, at worst, cost neutral. NECC has also welcomed the planned reform of the tribunal system and called for the Government to move forward faster with the changes. It is also keen to see a more streamlined approach to employment law where politicians take the time to get it right rather than constantly tinkering with policy.

 The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has compiled a national picture of the additional legislative burden which shows UK plc is facing a whopping £23bn bill for the legislation which is set to come into force between April 2011 and April 2015.

 The BCC said that some of the most costly regulations in the pipeline are:

  •  2011: Right to Request Time off to Train will have an annual recurring cost to business of £174.96m
  • 2011: Agency Workers Directive will have an annual recurring cost to business of £1,548m
  • 2012: Pensions Reform will have an annual recurring cost to business of £4,526m

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