An independent watchdog that reviews government proposals for new regulations affecting businesses says a “worryingly high proportion” fail to make a strong enough case.
The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) reviews the evidence supporting new regulation before the proposals go forward to the government’s Reducing Regulation Committee, which has the power to send them back to departments.
In its Challenging Regulation report, issued on 28 February, the BPC said it had significant concerns over 44 per cent of the draft impact assessments accompanying draft regulations – designed to identify the costs and benefits of the proposal, including the impact on groups including businesses – examined between September and December last year. The RPC looked at 189 impact assessments in that period.
Sir Don Curry, chair of the Better Regulation Executive, which leads the regulatory reform agenda across government, said: “Independent scrutiny of the impact that new regulations have on business is central to the government’s plans to cut the flow of new red tape.
“With that being the case, it’s disappointing that nearly half of the proposals that the RPC has been asked to give its opinion on are not up to scratch.”
Business Minister Mark Prisk said that impact assessments must be “robust and comprehensive”, adding: “Only when regulation is used as a last resort can we create the right conditions for growth and strengthen the economy.”