The cost to business of major regulations introduced since 1998 has risen to over £50 billion, according to new figures released today from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

The 'Burdens Barometer', the independent calculation of the costs to business based on the Government’s own figures, reports that the total cost has risen from £39 billion in 2005 to over £50 billion in 2006. The BCC’s ‘Burdens Barometer’, (our major annual report on regulation), is independently compiled by experts from the London and Manchester Business Schools.


Commenting on the figures, BCC Director General David Frost said: "British businesses are fed up with paying for Government regulation. Businesses must be free to compete in the global economy. As well as the increasing cost, businesses regularly tell us they are having to divert valuable time from running their businesses to dealing with more and more paperwork.

“While we recognise the need for proportionate regulation, the government must ensure that new regulations are well targeted and excessive existing burdens are cut back. Unnecessary burdens are not a sustainable option for our firms.

“We support the Government’s current agenda to cut the cost of regulation but as our figures show the need to get this right has never been greater. Businesses have heard many promises in the past but 2006 must be the year of delivery. Employers need to see a real difference in the day to day operation of their business.”

The British Chambers of Commerce ‘Burdens Barometer’ is extracted from the BCC’s database of over 1,400 Regulatory Impact Assessments produced by Government departments that evaluate the risks, costs and benefits of any new regulatory proposal that has an impact on business. The ‘Burdens Barometer’ tracks the cumulative cost of 69 major regulations introduced since 1998, which have annual costs to business of over £15m per year.

Additional regulations introduced in 2004/5 have added to the burden from previous regulations, pushing the total increase in business costs this year up from a potential £47 billion to £50 billion.

The Burdens Barometer is independently researched by Francis Chittenden and Kapil Ahuja of the Manchester Business School and Tim Ambler of the London Business School.