Limited return from bureaucracy cuts, firms claim

21st June 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 June 2006, AMSTERDAM — Companies in the Netherlands have noticed fewer benefits from cuts to the administrative burden that the government has suggested, a report by the national audit office has concluded.

21 June 2006

AMSTERDAM — Companies in the Netherlands have noticed fewer benefits from cuts to the administrative burden that the government has suggested, a report by the national audit office has concluded.

The audit office - Algemeen Rekenkamer in Dutch - the difference in perception is mainly due to ministers scrapping regulation that in practice are less bothersome than supposed.  And companies sometimes continue to adhere to defunct rules out of convenience.

The report published on Wednesday looked at the Cabinet's plan to abolish 25 percent of the bureaucratic rules for companies. The intention is that the cut in paperwork will save Dutch business EUR 4 billion annually.

Based on a study of 24 measures taken by the government, the audit office said the implementation of these plans is on schedule, despite some carelessness.

The audit report said the lessening of the burden has been overestimated to the tune of EUR 64 million. In some cases firms are not compensated enough for the extra costs generated by new regulations.

Businesses find some of the changes are useful. For instance, fewer companies have to comply with anti-Legionaries rules and the need to register with official bodies has also been limited.

But the overall effect is less than anticipated by the government. This is partly because some of the scrapped rules were not being complied with anyway or because an administrative burden has simply been shifted from companies to another agency.

The report recommends closer consultation between the government and business in relation to the scrapping of rules.

Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm did not let the criticism dampen his enthusiasm for the reform programme. "We are happy they say we are doing what we promised."

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006

Subject: Dutch news

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