That's a staggering leap of £10bn since last year. The figure comes from the Chamber of Commerce's 2009 Burdens Barometer, whose name neatly sums it all up. Nineteen new regulations came into effect last year, serving to turn up the pressure on business and make the already hard trading conditions even tougher. And this at a time when business secretary John Hutton was promising to cut red tape. The most 'burdensome' regulations are the Working Time rules, which cost companies £1.8bn a year, and the Vehicle Excise Duty Regulations, which rush businesses for another £1.2bn. You don't need advanced instruments to forecast the problems this could cause. There is one glimmer of light: the Barometer found that 18 regulations actually save businesses £1.4bn. But that's like taking the pebbles out of Altas's pockets and expecting it to lighten his load. The Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform claims to be cutting the number of regulations that get passed. Government has been saying such things ever since the phrase 'red tape' was invented, but there's always more of it.
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