Rules created in 1871 which still govern street trading in Britain need to be reformed to benefit modern small companies, the government has proposed.
Ministers have announced a consultation on proposals which include getting rid of the Pedlars Act (1871) and making changes to street trading laws to make sure they comply fully with the European Services Directive which make it easier for street traders and pedlars to set up or sell their services anywhere in the EU.
Consumer affairs minister Jo Swinson said: "Some of the best places to shop are our vibrant street trading stalls, which are an important part of traditional British culture.
"The changes we're proposing will help to eliminate barriers to street traders and pedlars by making it easier to trade, boosting retail and helping small traders – including many young entrepreneurs - to expand and grow.
"The Pedlars Act is an archaic law which requires those wishing to peddle to obtain a pedlar's certificate (and pay a fee for this) at a time when small businesses are at the heart of continuing growth in the UK - this is unhelpful and restrictive bureaucracy. These proposed changes will help give a boost to those that trade on the street."
The government's main proposal is to insert a new clear and up-to-date definition of pedlary for the purposes of the pedlar exemption from the street trading regime.
The consultation ends on 15 February 2013.