A small business lobby group has said it will use the first National Small Firms' Summit to raise the issue of the burden of red tape.

The Forum of Private Business has announced that William Sargent, executive chairman of the Better Regulation Executive, is due to address the event in October.

The FPB's national chairman, Len Collinson, said the burden of red tape for smaller businesses was a heavy one.

"Small firms are particularly prone to feeling the pinch of regulation, it is commonplace for skilled workers to have to be distracted from their jobs to carry out form-filling exercises," he said.

Mr Collinson said the cost of red tape could be substantial.

"The opportunity cost is twofold, taking workers away from generating revenue and completing the administration itself," he said. "Mr Sargent plays a key part in fulfilling Government pledges to reduce regulations and the National Small Firms' Summit will give owners and managers the chance to hear from, and make their point to, him." In June, the influential National Audit Office said that Government was failing to keep the cost of red tape down in its evaluation of regulatory impact assessments.