Dixons boss attacks 'absurd' regulations

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Sir Stanley Kalms, the chairman of the Dixons electrical retail group, has launched a stinging attack on the Government for imposing "absurd" and "unworkable" regulatory demands on business.

Writing in the group's annual report, which was published yesterday, Sir Stanley says: "We continue to grow the group against a background of the most severe and costly regulation the market economy has experienced both from Brussels and our own Government."

Sir Stanley, who is a keen supporter of the Conservative Party, continues: "Too often absurd demands are being imposed on industry, frequently with insufficient thought or consideration of either the additional cost or the practical implications. Some proposals are simply unworkable and merely add costs that must inevitably be borne by the consumer."

A spokesman for Dixons said the company had concerns over the Sunday Trading Act, which Dixons says places a burden on stores to notify local authorities about chosen hours of opening. The group is also concerned with some issues in the Consumer Credit Act and some aspects of the Town and Country Planning Act, relating to outdoor advertising regulation.

As a Tory supporter who gave £38,000 to the party last year, Sir Stanley's attack on the Labour government is not surprising. Famously eurosceptic, Sir Stanley is a leading figure in Business for Sterling, the lobby group set up to prevent Britain from joining the euro.

Sir Stanley, 69, announced in April that he will retire at the group's annual meeting in September next year.

Dixons' annual report shows that he received a modest increase in his total pay to £783,000 last year. John Clare, the chief executive, saw his total pay rise by nearly 10 per cent to £548,000. Mr Clare was also awarded 174,000 new share options priced at 274p.

Shares in Dixons, which also owns PC World, Currys and The Link, closed 3.25p higher yesterday at 224.25p. The company, valued at £4.3bn, has underperformed the retail sector by 23 per cent in the past 12 months.