Cost of red tape 'rose £11bn last year'

British businesses have faced another £11 billion in red tape and new regulation costs over the past year, research suggested today.

The latest Burdens Barometer from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) estimates the cumulative financial impact of rules and regulations has now hit a mammoth £88.3 billion since 1998.

The report - which is compiled by experts from the London and Manchester Business Schools - calculates there have been 40 new regulations imposed on the sector since 2009.

Recent rules include the new light vehicle emission standards, which have a recurring cost to business of £1.48 billion, according to the study.

Ahead of the Queen's Speech on Tuesday, the BCC called for the Government to take the opportunity to repeal regulations where the costs outweigh the benefits.

David Frost, director general of the BCC, said: "The cost of dealing and complying with new laws and regulations over the last 12 years has been far too high.

"During this critical time for the economy, we need businesses to be driving recovery and creating jobs. But the Government must play its part by putting the brakes on the relentless flow of red tape."

Tim Ambler, from the London Business School, said Whitehall has added to the burden on companies by adding unique UK regulations to the "already substantial flow from the EU".

The BCC report shows that around 30% of policy proposals on average originated in the European Union since 2004.

By region, the biggest financial hit to businesses of red tape has been in London and the South East, at £14.78 billion and £14.20 respectively.

But the BCC said that some new rules have been to the advantage of UK business, with 21 of the 40 new rules introduced since 2009 seeing a recurring annual benefit.

The net result was still a cost of more than £1 billion in the past year even with this taken into account, it added.

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