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Regulators (Fees)

Volume 555: debated on Thursday 20 December 2012

14. What recent assessment he has made of the level of fees charged to business by regulators. (134551)

Recent reviews by my Department through the focus on enforcement initiative have uncovered a range of problems reported by business about the way that more than 50 regulators enforce the law, including inconsistency and lack of clarity over the charging of fees.

As my right hon. Friend will know, regulatory sloth and incompetence are currently damaging a business in my constituency and one in South West Bedfordshire. Will he take steps to ensure that regulators are not incentivised to damage businesses through unjustifiable fees?

I am aware of the issue in my hon. Friend’s constituency concerning the implementation of the biocidal products directive. Systemic, not just isolated, problems are damaging the relationship between regulators and industry. Last month we acted to stop regulator charging regimes that incentivised regulators to increase their costs to industry, and we will place a duty on regulators to bear down on costs and report publicly on how costs and fees are calculated. Regulators will have to demonstrate that they are efficient, and give industry the information it needs to hold regulators to account.