Having experienced previous deregulation initiatives, starting from when I sat on Mrs Thatcher’s Deregulation Task Force, there will need to be a real determination on the part of the Government to push through meaningful change.
It will require the consideration of a universal sunset clause, as suggested by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), on whose advisory council I sit, so that the imperative is to save the regulation only if it is worth saving. This sets the pace for reform. It will require the setting up of a “star chamber” made up of like-minded individuals who are determined to reap the rewards for Britain and are not frightened to think the unthinkable. A chamber made up of economists, politicians, academics and business people such as myself, hell-bent on the task and supported by an enthusiastic legislative hit squad from Whitehall.
The Government needs to start this process now, so that on Brexit Day plus one we can begin removing or amending the canon of EU law. Targets might include the ridiculous restrictions that prevent research into life-saving procedures and drugs, including the EU’s anti-progress, anti-science, anti-technology “precautionary principle”; the ludicrously bureaucratic laws like the Ergonomics Directive, which require all businesses to survey and record the positioning of chairs! Overburdensome “Working at Height” requirements which mean that people cannot afford to maintain their houses, not to mention “curved cucumbers”, restrictions on overtime and so much more.
If we apply ourselves to this great bonfire of the EU’s bureaucratic vanities, at last we will be liberated from all this and can celebrate at Lent in two years’ time by eating that quintessential symbol of pleasing renewal, a Simnel Cake, as Britain becomes the best place in the world to do business. But only if the Government gets on with it, starting now.
John Longworth is the former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce
March 30th, 2017: Telegraph