Businesses and industry bodies are being urged to present examples to a new government review of instances where "goldplating" may be creating excessive red tape in the UK.
Neil Davidson QC, the former solicitor general for Scotland, has set up a review to look at how the UK puts EU legislation into practice and is calling for evidence of over-implementation and goldplating, where unnecessary burdens are added as EU measures enter UK law.
The review, supported by the Cabinet Office, aims to identify and to consider ways to simplify any unnecessary burdens created by over-implementation and will report with recommendations to the government by the end of 2006.
It is looking at the whole process by which EU legislation is given effect in the UK, from transposition – or writing EU legislation into national law – to enforcement.
It adopts a broad definition of over-implementation and welcomes examples of:
- Goldplating: where the implementation goes beyond the minimum necessary to comply with a EU directive by, for example, user wide legal terms than those in the directive or extending the scope;
- Double Banking: where EU legislation covers the same ground as domestic legislation and the two regimes have not been fully streamlined; and
- Regulatory Creep: where regulatory burdens are added to through guidance or other non-statutory means.
The review team is also interested in hearing about areas where EU-derived regulation is enforced more strictly in the UK by comparison to other parts of the EU and examples where the higher regulatory standards resulting from over-implementation justify the extra costs.
Davidson QC says: “Around half of all new legislation that impacts on business derives from rules agreed by governments at the EU level – so it is important that the government and society are confident that EU rules are written into the UK statute book as simply and effectively as possible.”
Cabinet Office Minister Jim Murphy adds: “This government is committed an ambitious regulatory reform agenda in the UK and the EU, and as part of that Neil Davidson will carry out important work to analyse how EU legislation is implemented in the UK.”
Murphy says the Cabinet Office has strengthened scrutiny of EU regulations by publishing best-practice guidance for policy-makers in the 2005 budget, and the review will ensure the principles it set out are applied to laws originating from the EU, which may not have been transposed in the least burdensome way possible.
The call for evidence will last until 25 May 2006.
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