HC Deb 20 November 2001 vol 375 cc161-2W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will introduce targets for reducing the number of regulations issued by her Department over the next four years and for consequent financial savings. [14430]

Ms Hewitt

The DTI keeps the regulations for which it is responsible under constant review and welcomes the comments of stakeholders on them. There are no plans to introduce numerical targets for the reduction of regulations.

The Government's policy is to regulate only when necessary, ensuring that regulations are fair and effective, so that they protect the vulnerable but do not stifle competitiveness or productivity. New processes including the Regulatory Reform Act 2001 give us powerful tools to help cut down over-complex, overlapping and over-burdensome regulatory regimes.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has asked all Whitehall Departments to identify by the end of this year areas of legislation that are ripe for reform under the Act and other procedures. A Government-wide action plan will then be published containing firm commitments to specific reforms and initiatives which will aid both businesses and the public sector.

Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many regulations were introduced by her Department in each year since May 1997. [14428]

Ms Hewitt

Figures for the number of statutory instruments introduced each year are as follows (year from 1 April in each case, save 1997, where the figures run from May 1997 to 31 March 1998):

  • 1997–98: 76 regulations
  • 1998–99: 112 regulations
  • 1999–2000: 172 regulations
  • 162W
  • 2000–01: 127 regulations
  • 2001 to date: 43 regulations.

Of these 530 regulations, we estimate that 9 per cent. reduced costs borne by businesses, charities and voluntary bodies, while over 75 per cent. had little or no effect on costs for businesses, voluntary bodies, and charities. Over 30 per cent. of all the regulations introduced by DTI since May 1997 have been orders licensing firms to provide public telecommunications services, increasing consumer choice and competition in this sector.

Regulatory Impact Assessments (Compliance Cost Assessments for measures introduced before August 1998) have been completed in respect of all measures imposing or reducing costs and placed in the Libraries of the Houses.