Is Defra really cutting red tape?

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 targetof cutting agricultural red tape by 25 per cent is not being borne outby farmers' experience on the ground, according to a NFU survey.

InMay 2005, Government departments agreed to reduce the administrativeburden of regulation to businesses in the private sector by publishingan annual Simplification Plan in a bid to improve the whole regulatoryexperience by 2010. However, according to nearly two hundred NFUmembers who completed the Red Tape survey, things do not appear to begetting any better.

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

Meanwhile,98 per cent of NFU members taking part in the survey disagreed that theGovernment understands agriculture well enough to regulate and no-onefelt they were now spending less time on form filling and keepingrecords compared to this time last year.

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

NFUVice President Paul Temple said: "We appreciate that certainregulations are necessary, but farmers are now fed up with politiciansclaiming they want to cut red tape, when all the time, the demands ofthe regulators and the number of inspections is growing. Defraministers need to take a reality check and see what is happening outthere on the ground through the eyes of farmers and growers."

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