Seven Conservative MPs have teamed up with the Centre for Policy Studies and ConHome to propose ideas to turbo charge the UK economy. Yesterday, Charlie Elphicke argued that we need to reform the banks so they can finance the recovery.
Stephen Hammond is the Member of Parliament for Wimbledon.
It is a truism in politics that all oppositions promise to cut waste and to deregulate . Then governing starts and Governments find it more challenging than they first thought. On 26th September 2011, the Coalition Government published a summary of the progress made on cutting costs of regulation; it estimated the gross reduction in regulatory costs totalled some £3bn. This is real progress.
The Labour Government’s regulatory impositions on industry wrecked our competitiveness and productivity. The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 reports that the Coalition is already starting to make up some of the lost ground and is now ranked 10th. We are in the top ten again for the first time since 2007 but still well down from the last time Conservatives were in office in 1998 when we were ranked 4th. To his credit the Minister, Mark Prisk, recognises this “there is much more to do.”
The Government has a deregulation committee that overlooks and administers the “one in one out” rule which was introduced in Sept 2010. The purpose is to control the amount of new regulation and ensure any new regulation is offset by the abolition of current regulation. Can it be improved further still? Firstly there could be an assessment of total cost to industry. Under the one in one out approach the new costs could outweigh current costs. Secondly could there be more of a qualitative test? There is clearly a risk that swathes of costly new EU regulations could be introduced while obscure outdated and uncostly regulation is deleted. Finally rather than regulatory offset can we go further to more wholesale regulatory deletion?