Scottish Government
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Consultation on business regulation is launched

Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing has recently launched a consultation to deliver better support for businesses operating across Scotland. The consultation on Primary Authority seeks views on how regulation could be made simpler for Scottish businesses.

At present businesses operating in different Local Authority areas across Scotland need to work with each individual Local Authority in respect of regulatory matters. This can add to the burden of running a business and can be time consuming. A Primary Authority initiative would allow businesses to form a partnership with one local authority in order to receive tailored support in relation to a specified range of regulation.

The consultation, which will last from 28 June to 23 August, will seek views from businesses, individuals and organisations across Scotland.

Launching the consultation Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing said:

“I am convinced that better regulation has an important role to play in achieving a more successful and sustainable Scotland and delivering a favourable business environment in which companies can grow and flourish.

“That view reflects what I am told when I visit businesses and business organisations across Scotland in my role as Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism – and the way the business community responded to the consultation last year on better regulation options.

“The Scottish Government wants to deliver a streamlined system of regulation that addresses Scotland’s needs and this specific consultation is directly connected to the views submitted by members of the business community which favoured consistent regulation through partnership working with local authorities.

“The model of Primary Authority Partnership was introduced in 2009 by the UK Government and their evidence suggests it has helped some businesses. I am very keen to understand whether there is broad support for an equivalent approach to local authority regulation in Scotland – and if so, how it should operate in practice in a distinctly Scottish way.”

Commenting on the launch of the consultation Scottish Retail Consortium Director Fiona Moriarty said:

“We support a consistent and co-ordinated approach to regulation and enforcement. However, the evidence shows that regulations which may be purposeful and well-meaning in aim can sometimes become expensive and burdensome in application, especially where a business must cope with different approaches across a number of regulatory boundaries.

“Primary Authority seeks to address this problem and the experience of our members and independent evaluation suggests that it has been successful in fostering a partnership approach to securing compliance, creating more consistency and clarity for businesses and reducing the administrative burden and costs of regulation for both enforcers and businesses.

“Primary Authority is used by well over 700 small, medium and large businesses across the UK and we commend the Scottish Government for bringing forward this consultation and its commitment to better regulation.”

Additional information:

Consultation document

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