Regulatory lessons from the pandemic

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has urged the government to learn lessons from the implementation of coronavirus health measures in order to limit future regulatory confusion.

In a new report, the FSB, Newcastle University and the University of Birmingham highlight how a lack of regulatory clarity during lockdowns placed added strain on businesses. Research for the report shows over a third of small firms found it quite or very difficult to understand government COVID-security regulations, while almost a quarter thought the distinction between guidance and legal requirements was ‘totally unclear.’

This lack of clarity meant some firms went beyond minimum requirements for fear of falling short and this came at a cost in terms of worry, time and money. The FSB is now urging government to develop a new smarter regulatory approach that removes red tape and delivers constructive, clear regulation.

FSB National Chair Martin McTague said, “This is the moment to step back and assess what broad regulatory lessons can be learned from the pandemic. While it is understandable that governments and regulators had to act at great speed as the circumstances of the pandemic evolved, some of the regulatory shortcomings were consistent with problems encountered in more normal times, including around clarity and communication.”