Euro legislation red tape costs UK £8bn

Forty
per cent of the UK’s £20bn red tape bill is due to European legislation, a new
report claims.

London
and Manchester Business Schools and the British Chambers of Commerce looked at
government regulatory impact assessments and estimate that cost to British
business of new regulation has risen to more than £20bn – up £6bn on last year.

It
is estimated that 40 per cent of those regulations came directly from Europe.

"This
is the first time the legislative burden has been researched to show the effect
of Europe on British regulation," said David Frost, director general of
British Chambers of Commerce.

"Some
people will be surprised the proportion is only 40 per cent; others may have
expected it to be much higher. Either way, the impact on British business
amounts to more than £20bn according to the Government’s own published
assessments," he added.

The
burden covers legislation on vehicle emissions, data protection, pensions,
criminal justice, employment and environmental legislation.

Frost
said: "One thing is clear, legislation may or may not be appropriate, necessary
or effective, but without a workable system of checks and balances that
government takes seriously, who can judge?

"UK
businesses are having a very tough time at the moment. With the upcoming rise
in national insurance contributions and economic uncertainty caused by a
possible war in Iraq, the burden of ever-increasing red tape is the last thing
that firms need."

By Quentin Reade

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