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.

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.

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.

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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