Action on regulation needed to cut the £40 billion European red tape burden to UK businesses.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is calling on the European Council to make a genuine commitment to cut the burden of regulation on UK businesses.


The BCC’s annual Burdens Barometer calculates the cumulative cost of EU red tape to the UK economy since 1998 at an enormous £40,357 billion, more than 72.5 per cent of the £55.66 billion total cost.


Whilst the EU appears to be moving in the right direction with its proposed commitment of a 25 per cent reduction, this is actually merely a gross target instead of a net one. Until there is a net reduction in administrative burdens it is debatable if any businesses in the UK will notice any reduction


According to the Regulatory Impact Assessments that are published alongside the EU Regulations, amongst some of the most burdensome EU regulations are:


- The Working Time Regulations, introduced in 1999 has a recurring cost of £1,975 billion a year and has cost business £14,210 billion


- The Vehicle Excise Duty (Reduced Pollution Amendment) Regulations 2000 have a recurring cost of £1,225 billion a year, costing business £7,962 billion since its introduction.


- The Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002 has a £285 million recurring cost and has cost business £1,211 billion since its introduction.


Sally Low, Director of Policy and External Affairs, said:


“EU regulation is an enormous burden on UK business, restricting our firms competitive edge on the global stage.



“With so much regulation sourced at an EU level it is vital that collectively the member states commit to reducing the burden, however to really make a difference for business any target will need to be net rather than gross”


“If member states are serious about delivering growth and jobs for their citizens then firm commitments on administrative burdens are key. Business is competing in a global marketplace the EU cannot be complacent about the profound implications this has for competitiveness”.


The British Chambers of Commerce Annual Burdens Barometer is produced by Francis Chittenden of the Manchester Business School and Tim Ambler of the London Business School.


The cumulative burden of EU and Whitehall Red Tape on British Businesses since 1998 has been £55.66 billion. The cost of EU Red Tape since 1998 is £40.357 billion.