A pledge by the Conservative party to cut red tape by 20% over five years has been welcomed by the travel industry.

Speaking at the party conference in Blackpool, shadow secretary of state for business, enterprise and regulatory reform Alan Duncan said the Conservatives would impose a “regulatory budget” on each Government department and calculate a cost-benefit ratio for every new rule introduced.

Duncan said he would address the problem of regulation “hard and fast” and stop the practice of “turning one page of EU direction into 100 pages of UK law”, after the party’s economic policy review committee calculatedthat red tape costs British business £56 billion a year.

He said: “Other countries make products sometimes we just make rules.”

AITO Specialist Travel Agents chairman Barry Moxley said: “Red tape is a problem as more business regulations are introduced every year. Keeping up to date with general regulations as well as industry-specific ones is a headache.

“The Labour Government has said it will tackle it but we haven’t seen any reduction.”

Director of independent travel agency Holiday Lounge George Reynolds said: “Red tape can be a problem when you’re first starting out. Anything that would free uptime for small businesses to concentrate on their core business rather than admininstration is a plus.”