Attack home-grown and European Union red tape with shears, Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey tells the House of Commons

Excessive red tape and regulation must be cut back with 'shears' as well as scissors to help the economy get to sustained growth, Suffolk MP Therese Coffey told the Commons.

Excessive red tape and regulation must be cut back with 'shears' as well as scissors to help the economy get to sustained growth, Suffolk MP Therese Coffey told the Commons.

Deregulation is not only free but can save everyone money, and is a necessary stimulus for growth, she emphasised. And although some regulation is required, 'the key is to strike a balance' and ensure businesses such as farming can get on with the job.

The Suffolk Coastal MP suggested that there may be 'over-zealous' interpretation in Britain of the EU's habitats directive and water directive. 'Just last week I met farmers from my community who are worried about the water directives, how they have been implemented, and the risk that implementation causes in terms of abstraction' she said. 'That matters because Suffolk is a great producer of many of the crops that we all enjoy around the UK.'

Ms Coffey added that many regulations are 'home-grown' and criticised members of the 'something must be done brigade' who see something they dislike and think: 'Let's regulate to try and change this behaviour.' It was not always possible, she stressed, 'to change behaviour by legislating'.


You may also want to watch:


Her own local Suffolk Coastal council had reacted in an 'over the top' way to a deemed health and safety risk concerning liquefied petroleum gas tanks, she complained, continuing: 'For god's sake, let us use our common sense, so that council officers are talking to their businesses and not issuing two-page template instructions about how to dial 999.'

SW Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said that regulations often had a disproportionate effect on small businesses - 'for example, farmers in south west Norfolk who are struggling with the natural habitats directive have had to have endless meetings with the local council, Natural England and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to sort things out'.

Most Read

She also stated that large businesses, particularly in the banking and energy sectors, quite often lobby government and support more regulation 'because they see regulation as a barrier to entry for smaller businesses that are trying to enter those important markets'.

Deregulation minister Mark Frisk said that it was important to stop the 'gold-plating' of directives from Brussels. He agreed with Ms Coffey's assessment that the government had made good progress in reducing red tape but can also do better.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus