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Is Defra really cutting red tape?

PUBLISHED: 17:32 02 May 2008 | UPDATED: 08:24 28 March 2014

MAY 6, 2008: Farmers have given a cool reception to claims by Defra that it is cutting red tape.

Defra's claim to be making significant progress towards its target


of cutting agricultural red tape by 25 per cent is not being borne out


by farmers' experience on the ground, according to a NFU survey.

In
May 2005, Government departments agreed to reduce the administrative


burden of regulation to businesses in the private sector by publishing


an annual Simplification Plan in a bid to improve the whole regulatory


experience by 2010. However, according to nearly two hundred NFU


members who completed the Red Tape survey, things do not appear to be


getting any better.

77 per cent of respondents felt red tape is
now more demanding than last year while 95 per cent did not agree that
regulation is easy to comply with. This shows the Better Regulation
agenda has to deliver a meaningful impact on business.

Meanwhile,
98 per cent of NFU members taking part in the survey disagreed that the


Government understands agriculture well enough to regulate and no-one


felt they were now spending less time on form filling and keeping


records compared to this time last year.

NFU members believe regulation concerning double-tagging, sheep ID and transport of livestock to be particularly burdensome.

NFU
Vice President Paul Temple said: "We appreciate that certain


regulations are necessary, but farmers are now fed up with politicians


claiming they want to cut red tape, when all the time, the demands of


the regulators and the number of inspections is growing. Defra


ministers need to take a reality check and see what is happening out


there on the ground through the eyes of farmers and growers."

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