PROMOTING SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES
IN THE EUTHE GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE
Letter from the Chairman of Sub-Committee
B to Patricia Hewitt MP, Department of Trade and Industry
Thank you for your letter of 13 January 2000
to my predecessor, Lord Geddes, giving the Government's response
to this Sub-Committee's Report on Promoting Small and Medium Enterprises
in the EU.
I am glad to see that the Government readily
endorses most of the points which the Sub-Committee raised and
I am encouraged by the attention which the Government is giving
to informing SMEs, and to helping them deal with the complexities
of business in the Single Market.
I note, however, that we must agree to differ
over definitions of SMEs and that, you are not convinced that
a case can readily be made now for a European Small Business Agency.
I have to say, too, that I am far from reassured
by your response on "gold plating" (paragraph 94). The
feeling in the Sub-Committee is that "gold plating"
should be avoided where possible and most certainly kept to a
minimum. We look to the Government to dissuade Departments from
moving in this direction, rather than it being a question merely
of measuring an instance of "gold plating" against a
criterion of cost/benefit. If it has to happen, it should be clearly
marked as such in subordinate legislation. This is, in fact, what
we recommend in paragraph 94. It would be helpful to have a specific
Government response to our recommendation.
You will wish to know that the Sub-Committee
is considering whether or not one or some of the topics in our
Report merit further investigation.
19 January 2000