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Sweden's small firms 'struggle with regulation'

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13:02 CET+01:00
One of the government's promises when it came into power in September was to reduce the prohibitive costs of rules and administration for small business. The Board of Swedish Industry and Commerce for Better Regulation today released the results of a case study showing some of the effects of the heavy financial burden on a small company in rural Sweden.

Stjernsunds Gård is an agricultural company run by a married couple, and employs seven people full time as well as a number of seasonal workers.

According to the new study its annual costs for rules and administration amount to 365,000 kronor per employee.

“I am surprised that the regulatory costs were so high. When I see them all combined the regulatory costs are much higher than I would have thought,” said owner Inga-Lill Gilbertssson.

Her company specializes in plant cultivation, meat production, egg production and forestry. The total regulatory costs for last year came to 2.5 million kronor.

In the study the figure is broken down into administrative, financial and material costs resulting from state regulations for the company's particular line of business.

Industry charges totaled 1.151 million kronor, taxes 1.005m kronor, labour market charges 300,000 kronor and environmental costs 101,000 kronor.

“Some of the most burdensome regulations are the many and comprehensive environmental regulations, as well as being required to update a journal every time we move our animals between pastures,” said Gilbertsson.

The Board of Swedish Industry and Commerce for Better Regulation strives to reduce administrative costs for Swedish companies.

“Companies have called for proposals that involve simplified rules and more extensive reforms that might contribute to real growth and increased employment,” said the organisation's spokesman Thomas Lööv.

The government has presented its goal to reduce companies' regulatory costs by 25 per cent over the next four years. We hope that our investigation will contribute to fewer and simpler rules for Swedish companies,” said Lööv

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