Is EU Regulation Really Good for Us?

T Ambler, F Chittenden, A Miccini

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This is the eighth annual report examining how the UK regulatory system works in theory and practice. It concludes:1.The conformity of regulatory IAs with best practice as set out by government. Answer: the boxes are increasingly ticked but impact assessment has had no effect on the Whitehall culture of regulation.2.Formal impact assessment began later in the EU than the UK but we can now compare practice with EU theory here too. Answer: practice is improving in Brussels but the system is very untidy. For example, the lack of clarity about which initiatives are selected for formal impact assessment, the content of such assessment and lack of audit trail between proposal and implementation make following the process difficult. 3.The UK enjoys, or suffers, two law-making factories: Whitehall and Brussels. Ideally they would each restrict themselves to their own areas of competence so that the combined burden would be the same as that from a single factory. In our report last year we showed this not to be the case. Each factory seems to operate as if the other did not exist. Answer: Further research this year confirms that the two systems do not mesh. Proposed regulations are not challenged by the body that is supposed to have charge of UK law-making, namely Parliament. Much of the claimed overall benefit of regulation is no more than “bread and circuses”: giving attractive rewards to citizens and penalising productivity in the process. Transferring wealth from business to citizens, whatever the arithmetic, can be made to seem beneficial but it is a form of business taxation and damaging for competitiveness and the economy, and therefore UK citizens, in the longer term.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBritish Chambers of Commerce
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • Regulation, Impact Assessment, Competitiveness


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