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Fewer rules for businesses in The Hague

It will soon become easier for businesses in The Hague to apply for a permit, as the municipality is replacing certain required permits with general guidelines. Examples include the permits for terraces and sidewalk display. The plans were drawn up by The Hague Municipal Executive, with the objective of improving the municipality's service to businesses in the city.

These changes are part of The Hague's so-called "Red Tape" project, which aims to reduce administrative burdens for the city's businesses and inhabitants. Under the project, laws and administrative procedures are being reviewed, and when possible unnecessary rules are abolished, permits are replaced by general guidelines, or processes are at least simplified.

Hundreds of proposals for over 100 city services and products have already been written up, and once implemented, are expected to lead to a 40 percent reduction of administrative costs for businesses and a 20 percent reduction for residents.

Since the project began in 2006, various rules have been abolished, such as the street trader's license and the exemption for rubble containers. Permits and licenses have also been simplified for running a cafe or restaurant, pulling down buildings and cutting down trees.

The municipality is working together with local businesses to identify other bottlenecks in the rules.

It will also enter into talks with the national government to evaluate whether all of the national rules are truly necessary, for example for the catering industry and the construction sector.

As Henk Kool, Vice-Mayor for economic and social affairs in The Hague puts it, "Regulation is a necessary aspect of our complex society, but over time we have overreacted and have consequently suffocated the energy of entrepreneurs.

Finding the right balance between regulation and the responsibility of entrepreneurs is a task not only for me, as vice mayor responsible for diminishing red tape, but for the whole local government."

Source: The Municipality of The Hague

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