Government needs to lighten regulatory burden, says RGDATA

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RGDATA is proposing altering their inspection process to decrease the amount of job losses in the small grocery retail industry.

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15 June 2010

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Small grocery retailers are spending the equivalent of a 50-hour week each year filling forms and ticking boxes, and collectively paying E26.5m in regulatory fees; an RGDATA report presented to the Oireachtas Economic Regulatory Affairs Committee last month, has revealed.

The report prepared by economist Jim Power, found small retailers must comply with 17 inspections, including the grading of potatoes and eggs and compliance with the plastic bag tax. What’s more, to trade legally, they need 21 different licences.
RGDATA director general Tara Buckley said this regulatory burden could have a serious impact on job losses – especially considering “that one in four retail jobs have been lost over the last 12 months.”

In its submission, RGDATA proposed grouping inspections; cutting licensing fees by 15%; a reduction in information requests to businesses of a similar type; greater use of IT in the inspection process; and the abolition of JLC labour compliance costs.
Economist Jim Power added it was imperative that all costs, including regulatory costs are targeted and reduced for the sector, which “generates E4.76 billion each year to the national economy, equivalent to 3.6% of Ireland’s GDP.”

Following the Oireachtas Committee presentation, Buckley told ShelfLife that RGDATA received good support on the issue from representatives of Fine Gael, Labour, and the Greens.

The group which represents the interests of independent retailers, has also since been invited to join a working group set up by the Taoiseach’s department; aiming to  remove 25% of the cost of regulation by 2012.  “We’re making very practical suggestions to that working group,” said Buckley.

When asked if she was hopeful this would yield results however, she added: “When Government put together high-powered bodies and they have until 2012, I wouldn’t be holding my breath that it’s going to happen in the short term but we will certainly be doing our utmost to ensure that there are some practical solutions adopted by 2012.”

 

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