The Conservatives have pledged to introduce a “one in, one out” policy on employment law with new legislation only being passed once an old ruling had been removed.
Ken Clarke, shadow business secretary, told the Conservative Party Conference that he would de-regulate businesses with policies that will “light the bonfire of red tape”.
The one in, one out policy would be enforced through a new ‘star chamber’ headed by Clarke and would result in a net 5% reduction in the regulatory burden, the Tories have claimed.
Business often complain that there is too much employment law which is bureacratic and unnecessary.
Clarke said: “We will introduce a system of regulatory budgets across government, that means that no new red tape will be introduced without a compensating cut in the costs and burden somewhere else.”
Clarke added the public would be given the opportunity to use a “ticking time bomb” system to vote for the 30 most unpopular business legislations. The 30 regulations would be given 12 months and if people did not write to protect the legislation in that time, they would be scrapped.
Clarke also outlined Tory plans to create efficiencies by tackling the number of quangos. He revealed the party would introduce “sunset clauses” for quangos, requiring them to be regularly reviewed to prove their worth. If the quangos were then found to not provide sufficient worth they would be scaled back, merged or closed down altogether.
He said: “We will give each regulator and quango a ‘sunset clause’. This means they will automatically cease to exist after a set period unless they can prove their continuing usefulness.”
He said: “The burden of red tape and quangos is a millstone around Britain’s neck, stifling our economic recovery and playing havoc with our public services too.
“To get Britain back to business, the excessive regulation that businesses – and the great public services – face has to be swept away.”
He added: “These new policies are the biggest and most serious attempt to lighten the load and I hope they’re the spark that lights the bonfire of red tape.”
If the Conservatives win the next general election the party has also pledged to consult on changes that may be required to the employment and discrimination tribunals, to ensure fast, cheap and accessible access to justice.
Meanwhile the Conservatives have today also launched a campaign to stop the early implementation of the Agency Workers Directive.
Gordon Brown sparked fears that Labour could implement the Directive as early as Autumn 2010 – the date the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for – when he told the TUC Conference last month that the new law would be “on the statute book” in the coming months.
But Jonathan Djanogly, shadow minister for corporate governance and business regulations, said the directive would cost British businesses £40bn over the next 10 years and put tens of thousands of jobs at risk, so the Conservatives would campaign against its early enforcement.
The Directive does not have to be enforced until December 2011.
He said: “We shouldn’t be destroying jobs, we should be wanting to create jobs and that’s why we are going to be opposing the implementation of this directive early.”