Red tape costs British businesses £88.3bn

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The cost of regulations jumps £11bn in one year.

The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) is urging the new Government to cut red tape, as figures are released that show the cost of regulations to businesses has reached a staggering £88.3 billion.

The cost is an increase of more than £11 billion from last year. The figures were displayed in the BCC’s latest Burdens Barometer, which significantly uses the Government’s own figures to calculate the rising cost of regulations to business since 1998.

BCC director-general David Frost said: “The Burdens Barometer highlights a clear problem for UK business. The cost of dealing and complying with new laws and regulations over the last 12 years has been far too high.

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“There needs to be an urgent and sweeping review of all regulations that incur costs for business, and importantly, a moratorium on new employment laws until at least 2014.”

Since 2009, an additional 40 regulations have been added to the Barometer. Even with 21 of these reporting a recurring annual benefit to companies, the net loss of these remains an annual recurring cost to business of more than £1 billion.

The most costly of regulations added this year include the Euro 5 and 6 Light Duty Vehicle Emissions Standards, with a recurring cost to business of £1.48 billion, and the Community Infrastructure Levy, with a one-off cost to businesses of £457 million.

London Business School senior fellow Tim Ambler claimed it was not just EU legislation adding to the burden for businesses. He said: “Much of the problem stems from Whitehall wishing to add its own unique UK regulations to the already substantial flow from the EU.”

About 30 percent of all policies originate from the EU and in the past two years this has dropped to just 20 percent.

Research published by the BCC in January revealed that upcoming employment regulations and taxes could cost UK businesses £25.6 billion over the next four years. It is unclear whether the new coalition Government’s policies might adjust this figure.

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