Regulatory flow and regulatory
82. The BCC said that efforts to reduce the stock
of existing legislation have achieved a measure of success.
However, the BCC the CBI and the IoD all wanted more focus on
the flow of new legislation, including statutory instruments.
The BCC have suggested dividing statutory instruments into those
that make substantive legislative change and those that are merely
administrative, such as the large numbers of road-closing orders
and updating measures, so that a better track can be kept on the
flow of secondary legislation.
The CBI wanted better mechanisms for tracking the progress of
This has also been mentioned by the House of Lords Merits Committee.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants' memorandum said that:
"The flux of new regulation is more troubling for a business
than the stock of old regulation as businesses will already have
coping strategies for old regulation."
83. The March 2008 Government White Paper Enterprise:
unlocking the UK's talent
proposed consultation on introducing regulatory budgets to set
out rolling limits on the annually recurring costs of new regulation
introduced by each Department in a given period. The White Paper
acknowledged that when the then Better Regulation Taskforce proposed
such budgets in its 2005 Less is more report, it conceded
that such a move would be difficult and would take time, as well
as setting an international precedent.
84. Concern was also expressed that the credibility
of the better regulation agenda depends on having a plan for beyond
2010, "otherwise there is a feeling that it is perhaps government
holding in its stomach to reach 2010".
It was interesting that, of the memoranda submitted by Government
Departments, only the DEFRA memorandum addressed the post-2010
85. Adopting regulatory budgets would be one
means to tackle regulatory flow, and to create further incentives
for regulatory reform on Departments. We welcome the fact that
a full consultation is taking place on this proposal for regulatory
reform, although we note that the Netherlands has already experimented
with them without their necessarily producing emphatic results.
Any proposed system for setting and publicising regulatory budgets
should take into account the fact that desirable regulation, not
least in the environmental and health and safety areas, carries
with it certain inevitable costs. Similarly, there should be safeguards
against undue pressure to remove necessary regulation merely as
a means of meeting budgetary targets.
86. We recommend that, if regulatory budgets
are adopted, and subject to the outcome of any review on independent
scrutiny, Departments provide relevant data in their Annual Reports
as a means of allowing proper scrutiny. In any event, we recommend
that Departments begin already to focus on their plans for post-2010.
Whatever the nature of the then Government, there will be a need
for further progress in regulatory reform. If regulatory budgets
are not adopted then the UK needs to consider alternative means
to impose continuing discipline on the flow of new domestic legislation
and to provide incentives for Departments to achieve further burdens