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    Scottish taskforce looks at ways of easing regulatory pressure on businesses

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    Scotland’s Regulatory Joint Taskforce has agreed to initially consider the impact of upcoming devolved legislation at its first meeting.

    The group is established by Deputy First Minister John Swinney as part of the measures to support business in November’s Emergency Budget Review.

    The taskforce has decided to examine whether planned new regulations can be amended or streamlined while still delivering on their core aims. It will also consider longer term improvements to regulatory processes.

    “The current cost crisis – and the economic pressure on families, business and our public finances – is the worst since devolution. The Scottish government is committed to doing all it can to ease that pressure but we are constrained by the limits of devolved powers and the fixed nature of our budget,” Swinney said.

    “While we continue to call on the UK government to do more, we want to look at ways to reduce costs on business and so help them create and sustain jobs. I have listened to business organisations and the Joint Taskforce will initially examine new regulations and identify actions that could reduce any additional burdens they might impose.”

    Co-chaired by Business Minister Ivan McKee and Councillor Gail Macgregor, Environment and Economy spokesperson of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), the group will draw members from business organisations, regulatory bodies and local authorities.

    “It is important we take a collaborative approach, so I asked COSLA to joint chair the group and business to help set its agenda. The membership may change depending on the regulations and issues being discussed,” Swinney added.

    “The Joint Taskforce will also help deliver our wider commitment, made in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, to improve the process of developing, implementing and reviewing government regulation.”

    COSLA vice president Cllr Steven Heddle said: “The cost crisis is creating very difficult conditions for businesses and COSLA welcomes the opportunity to work with the business sector and the Scottish Government to ensure that we are aware of the impact that any new regulations may have on businesses and consider ways to minimise that impact.”

    While the Joint Taskforce will initially focus on upcoming devolved legislation and its cumulative impact, it is envisaged it will later be able to consider legislation already in place.

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