Rishi Sunak warned against dropping red tape battle

Rishi Sunak can't wait for 2023

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Rishi Sunak has dropped plans for a war on Whitehall red tape in which ministers would have been given binding annual targets limiting the total regulatory cost they could impose on businesses. The proposals were introduced by his predecessor Liz Truss in order to ease the burden on the economy from civil servant lawmaking.

However the plans have now been ditched, according to The Telegraph.

Former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg was initially in charge of the policy and drew up detailed plans involving an annual review to set each department a budget for their regulation of firms.

They could have chosen how to “spend” their red tape budget but would have potentially been sanctioned for going over it.

There would have been no exemptions, with the rules covering all public bodies that churn out red tape including quangos.

Mr Rees-Mogg has warned that the PM’s decision has come at the “worst possible time” for the British economy.

He said: “One of the most important jobs of any minister is to keep their department’s regulatory instincts at bay and cut the cost of government on businesses.

“An overarching policy of regulatory budgets would force officials to prioritise and would revolutionise accountability.

“Without them these burdens will only continue to grow, harming the country’s growth and competitiveness.”

The plan for red tape budgets was one of the recommendations from a recent bureaucracy review at Downing Street.

John Penrose, a senior Tory MP, was commissioned to write a report on these reforms by Mr Sunak when he was Chancellor.

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He said: “The whole system in Westminster and in Whitehall is set up to create new rules.

“It’s how politicians, civil servants and regulators make their names, so the political and cultural direction of travel is always pro-regulatory unless we stop it.”

In a separate move Brexit-backing Tories are planning to fight any delay to the scrapping of EU regulations.

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