With the impact of the economic downturn still being felt right across the UK, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have said that cutting red tape should be a priority for the government.

The Red Tape Challenge was launched by the UK Government in 2011 and aimed to reduce the bureaucracy that is hurting businesses, the economy and society. But what does it mean for SMEs?

–Cutting the red tape

There are more than 20,000 regulations active in the UK today but the government intends to reduce that number significantly before it leaves office. Unfortunately, many businesses are in the dark over these plans, with half of the 500 SMEs questioned in a survey unaware of the Red Tape Challenge.

–Benefits for SMEs

Each week, the Red Tape Challenge publishes the regulations for a specific sector, such as retail or hospitality. Business owners then have the chance to offer their thoughts on what is holding them back in this area.

Once feedback has been received, ministers have three months to decide whether to scrap, amend or keep the regulation. With demand for cutting red tape so high, it’s important that SMEs do all they can to help themselves by getting involved.

–Drawbacks for SMEs

While the government is trying to improve the situation for SMEs, the initiative hasn’t worked as well as many had hoped. This is partly because the regulations are often governed by EU law – meaning the UK can’t do much about them – but even the ones that have been changed by the UK government are reportedly taking a long time to implement. When asked, more than half of businesses claimed the measures have had no impact on their business and another four in 10 said they were unsure what effect it had.

–The future for SMEs

The future for SMEs is positive with economic growth predicted. Actively getting involved with the Red Tape Challenge can help you build a more symbiotic relationship with the government which could help to encourage growth and development that will aid you and your business.

At the same time as freeing your business from bureaucracy, you need to protect it with the right level of business insurance cover. Operating without insurance will leave you exposed to risk. There are many different policies available so it’s important you seek one which caters to the specific risks you face and offers protection for all your assets.