As a campaigner for deregulation I have continued to take an interest in what the government proposes. Chosen sensibly, getting rid of rules and regulations can give business an effective tax cut at no cost to Treasury. Even better, it can also result in savings for government itself.
The Coalition government has not adopted my proposal of regulatory budgets. These would apply to each department, and require them to reduce the costs they impose year by year to an agreed timetable. It has instead adopted the policy of “One in, One out”. For every new Regulation they say they will repeal one of similar weight.
Ever keen to assist with a good idea, I asked a series of Parliamentary questions to see how the departments are getting on. The table below is revealing:
6 months figures for regulations introduced and regulations removed, with net balance introduced:
Communities and Local Government plus 21 minus 40 total -19
Department for Environment +31 _45 -14
Cabinet Office 0 0 0
International Development 0 0 0
Foreign Office 0 0 0
Defence +4 0 +4
Treasury +9 -2 +7
Home Office +10 -2 +8
Culture Media and Sport +11 -3 +8
Energy and climate change +14 0 +14
Transport +15 0 +15
Health +19 -2 +17
Work and Pensions +31 -11 +20
Business +20 0 +20
Justice +22 -1 +21
TOTALS +207 -106 +101
Both Local Government and Environment have been impressive and active in rolling back needless and less desirable regulation, and account for more than 80% of the repeals. Business and Work and Pensions account for a quarter of all the new regulation : the Business department figure is worrying as they should be keen on deregulation.
The figures are as defined and supplied by government departments. The Statutory Instrument is not a unit of account that can be relied on, but it does give us some indication of which departments are entering into the spirit of the One In One Out policy. I will be following up to see if the other departments start to repeal, and get the idea behind the policy.