§ Mr. Stephen O'Brien
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer about her request for EU Finance Ministers to commit to a timetable to eliminate wasteful regulations. 
§ Ms Hewitt
I discuss a wide range of business competitiveness issues with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Finance Ministers of the four member states that will hold the EU presidency in 2004 and 2005, including the UK, launched a Joint Initiative on Regulatory Reform on 26 January. This reflects the Government's priorities in this area, including simplification of EU legislation in key areas affecting business, and will reinforce the work of the Competitiveness Council which has a 'horizontal' remit to consider any EU legislation with an impact on competitiveness.
I have placed a copy of the letter that launched the initiative in the Libraries of the House.