This independent blog collects news about projects or achievements in regulatory reform / better regulation. It is edited by Charles H. Montin. All opinions expressed are given on a personal basis.
Background on regulatory quality, see "Archive" tab. To be regularly informed or share your news, join the Smart Regulation Group on LinkedIn: 1,300 members, or register as follower.

08 April 2011

UK steps closer to deregulation

A new policy statement has just been published by the UK government entitled "one-in, one-out: statement of new regulation"  Its first part is a "strategy for reducing regulation." At first view, it represents a hardening of the better regulation policy, as it calls the "removal of existing regulations that unnecessarily impede growths" (without mentioning any benefits). The Coalition's strategy is also to reduce the overall volume of new regulation by introducing regulation only as a last resort, improve the quality of any remaining new regulation and streamline enforcement regimes. The policy is based on feedback from business that "regulation is a significant barrier to growth. It wastes valuable work time, requires constant administration and leads to real losses for business and the economy." 
The statement also announces several measures including sunset clauses, a stop to goldplating, the confirmation of a three year moratorium on new domestic regulations for small businesses and a systematic review of the stock of legislation. The document is well worth reading and will set a new standard for like minded countries. (on a tip from Johannes M. Wolf, from BIS, editor's comments.)
Experts interested in the conceptual background may read a good review from the Institute of Public Affairs of Australia. Here is an extract to whet your appetite:
"Strategies for reducing regulation fall into two camps.
The first, a ‘bonfire of the rules', can be conducted in two ways. The route used in Australia and overseas in recent years has been sun-setting regulations and requiring them to be re-enacted after due consideration once a specified number of years has passed. Though this might have had some effect it is minor considering the magnitude of the task.
But a more successful regulation bonfire was the long and systematic culling of regulations that took place in England in the 200 years to the 1870s. It resulted in repealing four-fifths of the acts of parliament passed from the thirteenth century. Arguably, this was a progenitor and perpetuator of the industrial and commercial revolutions that have created the current living standards of the world today. But it required an enduring political will based on a general faith in market processes and scepticism about political processes.
The second strategy involves the creation of road blocks to further regulatory excess. In the Commonwealth and in Victoria, well resourced and expert bodies have been created to act as an obstacle to ill-thought through regulatory proposals or proposals that are not underpinned by government decisions. Refinements such as one-regulation-in, one-regulation-out are under consideration."
There is also an interesting list of methods to improve regulatory management on the site of the Canadian Red Tape Reduction Commission.


  1. I question this statement, "But a more successful regulation bonfire as the long and systematic culling of regulations that took place in England in the 200 years to the 1870s." What is the definition of success? How can a 200 year regulatory update be considered a model for an economy where lab to market is a matter of months? Once "success" is defined in measurable terms, we can have a discussion about the right model for regulatory review and modernization.

  2. I thought the quote interesting as I had never heard that the industrial revolution may have been partly due to deregulation over the preceding decades. Surely there were other causes. But a qualified historian's view would be welcome