Monday, July 19, 1999 Published at 05:14 GMT 06:14 UK
Business: The Economy
Red tape stunting small firms
Small firms complain there is too much form filling
Firms are deliberately restricting their growth to avoid regulations covering health and safety and employment, according to a new report.
Some health and safety rules, for instance, only affect firms with five or more staff.
Fledgling businesses have become increasingly strident about the burden of red tape since Labour came to power.
The latest research, chaired by Lord Haskins, chairman of Northern Food, will no doubt prove a further embarrassment for ministers.
Lord Haskins said the main problem was that firms were more concerned with survival when they first started up in business.
The task force says the answer to the problem is not to exempt small firms from the rules, but to give them compensation for the extra work involved.
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