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LGA calls for simpler licensing regulations

Overly complicated licensing rules are deterring people from setting up local businesses, the LGA has argued.

The regulations involved in setting up new business should be simplified and all based on a common legal framework, their analysis suggests. Instead of full renewals, business should submit minimal updates, with councils able to call in licenses if there are problems.

Councils should also have the power to remove rules that are irrelevant in their area.

Cllr Mehboob Khan, chair of the LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Councils want to encourage local growth and share the frustration of local businesses faced with countless licences and heavy costs before they can start trading. Millions of pounds are wasted each year managing this needless red tape and a licensing system that is woefully out-of-date and preventing councils from targeting the minority of businesses causing real problems.

“It is ridiculous that laws developed more than 100 years ago with no relevance to the 21st century remain in force, each with their own unfathomable maze of paperwork and fees. The time has come for government to commit to a full review of the system to remove some of these outdated regimes and to combine and simplify others.

“Overhauling these archaic licensing systems would strengthen the role of local licensing committees and democratically-elected councillors to make decisions about individual licences, remove irrelevant regimes and adapt to emerging local risks.

“This would make it easier for businesses to set up and operate, while ensuring councils have meaningful powers to tackle the few irresponsible businesses and safeguard their local residents and communities.”

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