UK’s first digital regulations space could help thousands of businesses in Andover

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A digital checklist of regulations, that new businesses have to comply with, will benefit the estimated 1,965 SMEs in Andover, according to Kit Malthouse MP.

A working group with the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce is now planned later in 2015 to make the digital space a reality.

It is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK.

Kit Malthouse MP for North West Hampshire said: “Andover’s businesses motor our local economy and we need to help them thrive. Being a small business owner myself, I know too well how stressful it can get before you even begin trading. When you set up, there’s a raft of compulsory requirements to get your head around such as registering your company, getting insured, applying for licenses and patents, completing tax returns, the list goes on. Sometimes it can feel like the information is spread out and buried in in a complex web. A simple checklist, which can be easily accessed in one place online would be very useful to get over the initial hurdles and get things off to a smooth start. I look forward to working closely with the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce to pioneering this right here in Andover.”

Sue Risdale, 55, owns Andover Nails and has been doing make-up, nails and beauty for 13 years: “I’m a sole trader and when I started out I remember regulations being daunting. They are ever changing and it feels like you could be missing something. I recently found out that I’m obliged to keep my clients’ consultation forms under lock and key for six years. The people that trained me in my nail technician course helped me, but not everyone is lucky enough for that. The organisations Professional Beauty, Habia and the Association of Nail Technicians (ANT) were very useful. An online checklist is a great idea but I would like to see the information split up by industry. The rules I comply with in the beauty industry will be different from the food industry, which will be different from the finance industry. We must all endeavour to exceed the regulations required”

Mark Baulch, Business Development Manager at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The extent of compliance responsibilities on businesses starting out is complex and it can be difficult to locate the most appropriate sources of help. There is currently no one central point of information that gives an exhaustive list of what to consider. Businesses face a blizzard of mandatory requirements governing legal issues, tax records, insurance, health and safety, recruitment and other essential areas. Hampshire Chamber is keen to work with our local politicians to help businesses and we will be happy to put together a working group to see what can be done about this.”