Written Answers - Economic Competitiveness.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 681 No. 4

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  137.  Deputy Brian Hayes  Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment  Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan   the steps taken to achieve the 25% reduction of administrative burdens placed on business as included in Building Ireland’s Smart Economy — A Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal 2009 to 2014 in areas (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17597/09]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Mary Coughlan): Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  My Department is charged with leading the cross-Government drive to reduce red tape costs for business. We are doing this in a prioritised way, drawing on the experiences of other Member States who are also involved in this international effort. Departments are currently identifying the “Information Obligations”, contained in their legislation, likely to be causing the biggest burdens for business. This will encompass all areas of regulation affecting business, including Taxation, Health & Safety, Statistics, Employment, and Company Law.

[864]When the top Information Obligations have been identified, these priorities will be measured and, following this, simplification plans will be developed, detailing how the reductions are to be carried out. Work is now well advanced in my own Department, in measuring information obligations in Company Law, Employment Law, and Health & Safety Law. In parallel to this process, the High-level Group on Business Regulation, chaired by the Secretary General of my Department, was set up to deal with specific business suggestions and issues relating to red tape. The Group consists of senior civil servants as well as business and trade union members. The Group has been examining concrete areas in which the administrative burden of regulations on business can be reduced.

The issues already addressed by the High-level Group are estimated to have saved Irish business some €20 million in administrative costs annually through cutting out paperwork, revising the rules for small businesses and making better use of on-line services. If the work of the Group is to produce optimal benefits, business, and especially small business, must continue to submit the practical proposals and concrete suggestions they have regarding the areas where they feel the burden is greatest. Small businesses in particular have a lot to gain from participating in this process and making known areas where they feel over-burdened by red tape. The Group will continue to find solutions by opening up dialogue with relevant Departments and Agencies.

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