Documents to download

This briefing has been prepared in advance of the debate scheduled to take place in the House of Lords on the following motion tabled by Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Conservative): “to move that this House takes note of Her Majesty’s Government’s plans to ensure that regulation is balanced, cost-effective, easy to understand, and properly enforced”. 

Regulation is a broad term for a range of tools that governments can use to intervene in markets. The primary purpose of regulation is to address market failures which result in outcomes that are not in accordance with public good or intended policies. Regulation can take various forms, ranging from prescriptive government-led intervention to market-led incentives and codes of practice. 

The Coalition Government introduced policies intended to reduce the costs to businesses and civil society of complying with regulation. This included the Red Tape Challenge and a ‘one in, one out’ policy, under which any new UK regulation which imposed a direct annual net cost on businesses or civil society organisations would have to be offset by the removal of existing regulations with an equivalent value.  

The subsequent Conservative Government continued the Coalition Government’s policies of examining areas where the costs of regulation could be reduced. The Government was also required by law to publish a target for reducing the cost burden of regulation, known as the Business Impact Target. The Government, then led by David Cameron, published a target of reducing the cost to business of regulation by £10 billion by 2020. The Government has been criticised for excluding certain high-impact measures, in particular the National Living Wage, from the calculation and presentation of the target. 

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, currently progressing through Parliament, provides that all European Union (EU) law will become part of UK law when the UK leaves the EU. As a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, UK regulatory bodies may have to take on new functions and new bodies may have to be established. 

Documents to download

Related posts

  • The UK economy in the 1980s

    This briefing is the fourth of a series on the post-war history of the UK economy. The series proceeds decade-by-decade from the 1950s onwards, providing an overview of the key macroeconomic developments of each decade. This briefing looks at the 1980s. The decline in the profitability of industry, which began in the 1960s, was reversed in this decade; however, the share of national income received by workers fell to a post-war low.

    The UK economy in the 1980s
  • Contribution of sport to society and the economy

    This briefing considers the benefits of sport and physical activity ahead of a House of Lords debate on the subject on 16 May 2024. The government and sports sector stakeholders agree that sport has many benefits for individuals and communities, as well as for the economy more broadly. The government published a new strategy for the sports sector in August 2023. The ambition of the strategy was commended; however, sports charities and the opposition suggested that more was required from the government to deliver on it.

    Contribution of sport to society and the economy
  • Child poverty: Statistics, causes and the UK’s policy response

    The government has estimated that 4.3 million children, or 30% of all children in the UK, were living in relative low-income households after housing costs in 2022/23. This represents an increase on the previous year. The government has said unexpectedly high inflation, driven by the war in Ukraine and supply chain challenges, contributed to the rise. It argues that falling inflation, rising real wages and uprated benefits will help low-income households in the year ahead.

    Child poverty: Statistics, causes and the UK’s policy response