Manufacturers have urged the coalition government to take a bold new approach to regulation on order to help create jobs.
Manufacturers’ organisation EEF said reforming the way the UK approaches regulation will be critical to encouraging new businesses to set up and existing ones to create the new jobs needed to counter the cutbacks in the public sector.
The agency made the call in a new report, entitled Reforming Regulation – Improving Competitiveness, Creating Jobs.
EEF Midlands director Martin Wassell said: “Regulation is an essential part of a well-functioning society and can deliver major benefits.
“However, where it is excessive, ill-conceived or poorly implemented, it can impose significant cost on individuals, businesses and the wider economy with little or no benefit.
“Over the past two decades we have been promised reductions in costs, only to see them rise year on year.
“A bold new approach to regulation is now needed to meet the Chancellor’s aim of making the UK economy saying ‘Open For Business’.
“We need an open and transparent system that sets limits for total costs of regulation, whether they originate in Brussels or Westminster, and then sticks to them.”
“There have been some positive early signs from the coalition and we now need to see decisive action that will turn these intentions into results that actually help business to deliver a re-balanced economy.”
According to the report, 52 per cent of almost 300 manufacturers surveyed saw regulation as an obstacle to growing their business while regulation was rated as the second worst aspect of the UK business environment behind taxation.
The key drivers of recent regulatory growth have been employment and pensions policy, which affects all businesses, and environmental policy, which has a disproportionate impact on manufacturing.
Together, these two areas accounted for 56 per cent of the cost of European regulations introduced over the past decade and 65 per cent of the cost of domestic regulations.
In response, the report makes ten recommendations which EEF believes the government should introduce to build on its positive intentions to date to change the regulatory environment.