Think tank calls for curbs on costly EU regulation

THE SOARING costs of red tape came under the spotlight yesterday as a new report found that regulation has cost the UK economy £176bn over the past 12 years.

Of that amount, around 71 per cent – or £124bn – was spent on complying with legislation from the EU, according to think tank Open Europe.

Open Europe, which is supported by the likes of Marks and Spencer chairman Sir Stuart Rose and Sloane Robinson founder Hugh Sloane, said it estimates the benefit to cost ratio of EU regulation at 1.02, meaning that for every £1 of cost, regulations introduced since 1998 have delivered just £1.02 of benefits. It puts the equivalent domestic ratio at 2.35.

Open Europe analyst Sarah Gaskell called on the next government to take a “radical new approach” to cutting back on costly EU regulation.

“Passing laws as close as possible to the citizen is not only more democratic but also vastly cheaper,” she said.