Kenneth Clarke is the Minister without Portfolio and Oliver Letwin is Minister of State at the Cabinet Office
It was Ronald Reagan who told us that the nine most terrifying words in the English language were “I'm from the government and I'm here to help”. It is a sentiment which millions of businessmen and women up and down this country identify with, as they survey the entanglement of red tape in which their businesses have become wrapped. It is also a sentiment which the Deregulation Bill we publish today aims to begin to change.
Any well-functioning economy does need to be properly regulated. No one can object to sensible rules which keep people safe in their jobs, or prevent unfair treatment or wrongdoing. But in recent years a mountain of the stuff has been unnecessarily piled onto the statute book. All of it well-meant, perhaps, but the reality is that its major effect has been to waste time and money for hard-working people and tie honest business in knots.
What it also does, of course, is render British business less lean than it could be in the fiercely competitive global marketplace. Each unnecessary regulatory burden has a cost, and this cost acts as a deadweight, working against the efforts of British business fighting for export business across the globe. If we allow this situation to continue unchecked, we will find ourselves sorely stretched in the global race we face with the economic giants of China, India and Brazil.