§ Mr. Paul Marsden
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will estimate how many regulations affecting business have been repealed since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Stringer
I have been asked to reply.
An estimate of the total number of regulations affecting business that have been repealed since 1997 could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, since 1997, 23 deregulation orders have been made under the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 (DCOA).
The Government are determined to minimise the burden of regulation on business. That is why we are taking through Parliament a Regulatory Reform Bill, which builds on the powers of the DCOA and will make it easier to reform outdated, over-complex or overlapping legislation. We have already identified over 50 reforms that could be achieved by this means.
Each Department already has a continuing programme of regulatory reform. The DTI, for example, is reviewing several significant areas of regulation, including communications and company law, and is actively seeking to add to the five potential regulatory reform orders it has already proposed.