HC Deb 29 November 2001 vol 375 c1074W
Mr. George Osborne

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the cost to businesses of regulations introduced since 1997. [16488]

Mr. Leslie

All regulatory proposals likely to have a significant cost to business require a Regulatory Impact Assessment. Prior to the introduction of the Regulatory Impact Assessment process in 1998, Cost Compliance Assessments were used. These assessments are published by Departments and are placed in the Libraries of the House.

Tim Loughton

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many regulatory measures the Government(a) introduced and (b) abolished in the last year. [16474]

Mr. Leslie

During 2000, 3,487 pieces of primary and secondary legislation were introduced. Over 98 per cent. of the total relates to Statutory Instruments (SIs), the vast majority of which had only a local or temporary effect, such as routine air traffic and road closure orders. A better measure of the regulatory burden is the number of regulatory impact assessments produced by Departments for proposals imposing significant costs on business, charities or voluntary organisations. Last year, less than 5 per cent. of the total imposed significant costs.

An estimate of the total number of regulatory measures abolished in the last year could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Government are determined to minimise the burden of regulation on business and others. The Regulatory Reform Act 2001 now provides a powerful tool for reforming over-burdensome, over-complex and outdated primary legislation. The Prime Minister has asked all Departments to identify further areas of legislation that might be reformed under the Act and other procedures.