A report published today by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), which compares the UK and EU regulatory systems, argues that Westminster does not do enough to scrutinise legislation originating from Brussels, and too often employs a simple “tick box” mentality rather than robust analysis of its impact.
In a review of 265 Impact Assessments (IAs), which measure the cost of regulation, the report’s authors, Tim Ambler, Francis Chittenden and Andrea Miccini from the London and Manchester Business Schools, argue that the UK and EU regulatory systems are “out of kilter”, which acts to the detriment of British businesses that are trying to drive Britain’s recovery from recession.
With the EU accounting for £61 billion worth of regulatory costs to business since 1998, it is vitally important for the UK’s IA process to be synchronised with the EU’s.
The report makes a series of thorough recommendations to reduce the burden of red tape imposed on business, including the suggestion that when a Minister signs off a new UK-only regulation, in relation to an area with EU competence, he or she should explain exactly why the regulation is needed in the UK but not in the rest of Europe.
Commenting, David Frost, Director General of the BCC, said:
“Regulation can harm productivity and citizens in the long-term if our laws are not properly scrutinised.
“Considering the fragile nature of our economic recovery, more needs to be done to immediately reduce the burden of red tape on business. Within its first 90 days in power, any new Government should announce a moratorium on new employment laws and scrap the planned NICs increase - a clear tax on jobs.”
Tim Ambler, Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the London Business School added:
"Much of the problem stems from Whitehall wishing to add its own unique UK regulations to the already substantial flow from the EU.”
Francis Chittenden, Professor at the Manchester Business School added:
"Regulation is like taxation. It raises business costs and so reduces the amount of business activity conducted in the UK.”