Britain has spent £700m passing 400 new Euro rules since coalition came to power
Britain has passed more than 400 laws because of the European Union since the Coalition came to power in 2010 – costing businesses and taxpayers £700 million.
Directives from Brussels are turned into new regulations by civil servants that affect Britons’ everyday lives and industry.
Some of the rules are designed to protect consumers and safeguard the environment, while others dictate the wording on bottles of fruit juice.
But Ministers and business leaders claim the minor ones are stifling innovation and holding back the economy – and they want to stem the stream of red tape flowing from the EU. Priti Patel, the Conservative MP for Witham who uncovered the figures, said: ‘These costs are astronomical and another burden on the British taxpayer.
‘The figures are just the tip of the iceberg and do not even include the costs from other EU directives – ranging from the cost of buying a cabbage and a light bulb to paying household utility bills.’
The Tory Business Minister Michael Fallon said: ‘Ambitious, fast-growing businesses are being thwarted by an incomplete single market and disproportionate regulation. Reducing the cost of regulation for small businesses would be a much needed boost.’
Miss Patel had put down parliamentary written questions asking each Whitehall department how many EU directives they had transposed in recent years, at what cost, and how many pieces of legislation they had introduced at the behest of Brussels.
In total, the figures reveal 422 British regulations passed because of Europe between 2010 and this year.
Some of the departments have published Impact Assessments that estimate the costs of the new rules to businesses and public sector bodies. These include understanding their new obligations, changing their practices and adhering to new standards.
The total cost was £696 million but the true figure could be far higher as many Ministries have not made the costs incurred clear.
The largest number of regulations (134) were passed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) at an estimated regulatory cost of £470 million.
Among the new rules is the Fruit Juices and Fruit Nectars (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 which cost up to £160,000 to implement. They involved a ‘small linguistic change’, according to the Impact Assessment, to make manufacturers of mixed juice change the wording of their labels from ‘partially made with concentrate’ to ‘partially made from concentrate’.
The Department for Transport implemented 72 regulations, HM Treasury 67, the Department for Business 43 and the Department of Health 16. But only a handful gave detailed costings.
The Home Office, the Department for Business and the NHS also had to splash out millions between them.
A CBI spokesman said: ‘It’s vital that unnecessary red tape is cut back and doesn’t hold back growth.’
Martin Beckford & Valerie Elliott, Mail online here
Last Updated (Tuesday, 05 February 2013 12:34)