Tories pledge business and consumer-friendly replacement for GDPR

Jo Francis
Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Early indications are that plans by new culture secretary Michelle Donelan to replace GDPR with a simpler data protection system should be good news for the printing industry.

Donelan was appointed to her new role a month ago
Donelan was appointed to her new role a month ago

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference yesterday, Donelan, who replaced Nadine Dorries as secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport four weeks ago, said GDPR had been inherited from the EU, and its bureaucratic nature was limiting the potential for businesses. 

“That is why today Conference, I am announcing that we will be replacing GDPR with our own business and consumer-friendly, British data protection system. Our plan will protect consumer privacy and keep their data safe, whilst retaining our data adequacy so businesses can trade freely. And I can promise you here today, Conference, that it will be simpler and clearer for businesses to navigate,” she stated. 

“No longer will our businesses be shackled by unnecessary red tape. At the moment, even though we have shortages of electricians and plumbers, GDPR ties them in knots with clunky bureaucracy. In its place, we will co-design with business a new system of data protection. We will look to those countries who achieve data adequacy without having GDPR, like Israel, Japan, South Korea, Canada and New Zealand.”

Donelan also asserted that the reforms would not involve “another wave of legislation on business” and would avoid the pitfalls of a “one-size fits all” system. 

“Businesses won’t have to wrap their heads around complicated legislation – this is about simplification. In fact, it is this government seizing the opportunity to support our job creators. And I will be involving them right from the start in the design of a tailored, business-friendly British system of data protection… We can be the bridge across the Atlantic and operate as the world’s data hub.”

The Conservative Party is a client of Paragon Customer Communications, and Paragon CC CEO Jeremy Walters was invited to attend along with members of his team, and was actually in the audience yesterday when Donelan gave her speech. 

He said: “We watch with interest as the secretary of state has said GDPR is not fit for purpose, and she repeated that phrase several times.  

“Understanding why it’s not fit for purpose and how any new legislation will address those points will be something that we will really work with our customers on, to ensure that they are compliant and we are compliant in how brands communicate with their customers.

“I think to have a version that can balance consumer protection as well as the ability for brands to be able to market and promote in a relevant and opted in way, we’re fans of.” 

Phil Newton, chairman at PSE Offline Marketing, also commented. 

He said: “I feel this could be a great thing for the UK print and mailing industry mostly because of the fear-factor created by GDPR. There were so many scare stories when it was being introduced and the big fines that were threatened, it stopped a lot of companies using direct mail completely.

“While carefully targeted DM has always been a great way to recruit, retain and win back customers in a GDPR friendly way. The GDPR spectre hanging over companies being removed can only be a positive thing for companies.”

Walters also welcomed the changes to the IR35 off-payroll contractor legislation announced by chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, with the controversial reforms to be scrapped by April 2023. 

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