Tuesday, July 5

EU Red Business Tape

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

The Government launched a blitz against EU red tape yesterday, calling for a "change of culture" to prevent Europe falling ever further behind America, China and India in the world growth league.
John Hutton, the deregulation minister, said the EU must stop passing new laws unless the benefits "clearly" outweigh the costs, and should scrap proposals that "drag Europe down" rather than boost competitiveness.
"Too often in the past, Brussels has given the impression of regulating first and asking about the impact later. More than 50pc of significant new regulations that impact on business in the UK now emanate from the EU," he said.
The charge prompted a tart retort from G√ľnther Verheugen, the industry commissioner and the EU's new apostle of deregulation, who said Labour itself was a major part of the problem.
"The original EU directive on pesticides in food consists of 1,100 words. What has the UK made of it? A regulation of 27,000 words," he said. "The Commission is willing to bring its own house in order, but if member states do not play ball, it will not help business a lot," he said.
The British Chambers of Commerce found that 70pc of new regulations are home-grown and that the EU share has been falling since the late 1990s.
The extra cost on UK firms was £9billion last year. Sir David Arculus, head of Britain's Better Regulation Task Force, said this week that the cost of red tape is 10 to 12pc of Britain's GDP, equal to the sum raised in income tax. Two thirds was "good regulation" ensuring such benefits as a clean environment and well-run banks, while one third was "bad".John Redwood, the shadow deregulation secretary, accused Labour of "empty rhetoric" in battling red tape during its EU presidency.
Brussels is already screening hundreds of proposals, promising its first "bonfire of the diktats" in September.

1 comment:

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