§ Mr. Heathcoat-Amory
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent assessment she has made of the impact of regulation on UK productivity. 
§ Ms Hewitt
The Government keep the regulatory environment under constant review. Where it is shown that a regulation is unnecessary or ineffective, we will act to improve or abolish it. The Regulatory Reform Act 2001 provides us with a powerful and flexible tool to do this.
Strong competitive pressures across our economy are a key driver for productivity. The Government have announced that they wish the OFT and other competition authorities to advise where laws and regulations affect competition. This role applies to both existing and proposed legislation.
The International Institute of Management Development "World Competitiveness Yearbook" Indicators for 2000 show that UK labour market regulation is perceived to be significantly less restrictive than that of other major European countries and on a par with that in the United States. The OECD found in 1999 that in terms of product market regulation, the UK had the least restrictive overall regulatory environment of any member country.