Ministers, busy with day-to-day problems , rarely have the luxury of thinking beyond the immediate issue. For decades now, when confronted by an issue of concern or a problem facing the country, ministers have created swathes of new laws and regulations. The problem now facing us all is the burden of these regulations. This burden is overwhelming business, particularly small business, and it is excessive regulation which is the main barrier to entry in many industries. So how do we stop government from excessive use of new regulations? How do we reduce the current burden and change the Whitehall culture? In the Conservative Party document The Common Sense Revolution, there is one proposal in particular which will do much to address this problem. Every government department will be set a regulatory budget which will comprise the total compliance cost to business of regulations currently in force. This budget will then be reduced over the years. This has the double advantage of leading to a gradual reduction in the level of regulation and changing the culture so that future problems will not be addressed simply by creating yet more rules. Departmental ministers will be required to report annually to parliament on their progress in meeting their deregulatory targets. The Conservatives are also considering how best to exempt small businesses altogether from whole classes of regulation. We shall be consulting business about which legislation to include. It is clear, however, that the potential for exemption is huge and should also be extended to the enormous information gathering burdens imposed by the Office for National Statistics. In Opposition we can combine recent ministerial experience of running a department of state with new thinking from MPs elected in 1997 and in an environment unhampered by the burdens of day-to-day governmental responsibilities. Hopefully, this will enable us to tackle the problems caused by over-regulation with lasting success.
Geoengineering on the sea floor near glaciers would form a new ice shelf to prevent melting
Alterations in capillary blood flow can be caused by body position change
Curiosity rover is in 'normal mode' but not transmitting scientific data back to base
NatWest outage comes a day after Barclays' IT systems shut out customers and staff