Rishi Sunak is to head a deregulation task force for the government. The most essential point about which is that you don’t cut regulation by cutting regulation. You cut regulation by cutting the things being regulated:
Rishi Sunak has been charged by Boris Johnson with leading a bonfire of Brussels red tape now that the UK has left the European Union.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is to chair a new Better Regulation Committee in Downing Street which will focus on cutting EU red tape for businesses.
The Prime Ministers said he wanted the changes to allow the Government “to seize opportunities in the UK as an independent nation”.
Number 10 said the new committee will “refresh the strategy on making better regulation outside the EU, review existing rules and cut red tape for businesses”.
A source said: “With newfound control of our laws, reviewing and reforming regulation will be at the forefront of the Government’s agenda to take advantage of opportunities outside of the EU.”
To take a particular example, the regulation of chemicals under REACH. That’s an entire abortion of a system to start with so clearly this is an area where we’d like to cut red tape.
So, that Rolls Royce of a civil service devises some new set of regulations to detail how chemicals may be made, proven etc, in the UK. These will obviously diverge from the EU regulations under REACH because that is the point. That then posing more than the occasional problem for anyone manufacturing chemicals in the UK to be exported to the EU. There are now two sets of regulations that must be adhered to. And, given the RR civil service there will inevitably end up being contradictions. What is necessary under one set will be illegal under the other. That’s just how overlapping regulatory systems end up.
What we actually need is less regulation, not different.
So, accept that anyone exporting to the remnant EU will have to accord with REACH. Leave the UK regulation of everything to the usual common law distinctions. Don’t poison people etc. That is, don’t actually have a separate set of regulations covering chemicals for the UK at all. Have the usual legal responsibilities of anyone doing anything then leave well alone.
This then carries on over all the other areas you might look at. Whenever we say that we’re going to regulate different we’ll be introducing more complexity to the system. So, the answer is to say that we’ll not regulate here. It isn’t, after all, true that society needs to be managed by clipboard wielders and box tickers, whatever the fantasies of the federasts.
This is, of course, just a specific case of the more general one about cutting government. Cutting what a government or state does in a specific area doesn’t work. Because whatever sucking root is left of the control will grow again to strangle just like Japanese bindweed. The answer is the flamethrower one, simply to kill off the state or government involvement in that activity altogether.
Not that we have one but imagine, the answer to a Blair Jugend is not to then allow the Boy Scouts if people should so wish alongside it. It’s to kill the Blair Jugend and say that government has nothing to do with such things. Just leave the space for the Boy Scouts, Woodland Folk and all the rest to get on with it as they wish.
So with regulation. Don’t change it, abolish the very idea of regulating vast swathes of the economy. Don’t reduce the state all over, kill parts of the state.