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Legal age to buy crackers cut as part of 'pointless' red tape rules to be scrapped from tomorrow


Dozens of cuts to red tape will come into force tomorrow, including reducing the age for buying Christmas crackers, saving businesses millions of pounds, the Government has announced.

Christmas crackers will be sold to 12-year-olds rather than 16-year-olds at present under moves to abolish "pointless" regulations.

Other changes include the removal of "unnecessary" regulations covering shipbuilding repairs or specifying the quantities of heavy metals in pencils, simplifying the way firms use assets to raise finance, and reducing administration on low-risk electrical works.

Around 300 regulations have now been changed or axed from a total of 1,500 identified for reform through the Government's Red Tape Challenge.

Tomorrow is the latest round in a series of announcements, which the Government said were in response to issues raised by businesses.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said: "Setting business free from the restrictions that hold back enterprise is a compulsory step on the road to growth. We've listened to firms and taken prompt action where regulation presents barriers - but there is a huge amount still to do.

"We will quicken the pace by launching a new phase of the Red Tape Challenge this summer, focusing on key areas for growth, and I'm keeping up the pressure across Whitehall so that government always puts business before bureaucracy.

"As well as cutting the overall burden of regulation, we are sharpening up how rules are enforced."

Dr Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "We welcome the Government's on-going efforts to deregulate and to limit unnecessary red tape.

"Although the volume of new regulation has decreased, the number of changes emanating from both Brussels and Westminster is still too high. Constant changes to regulation are a distraction for firms at a critical time for the UK economy - when companies should be focusing on things like breaking into new markets, building their workforce, and generating wealth."