A Sweet & Maxwell survey has revealed that the number of new laws going onto the statute book rose in 2012 for the first time since the Government took office, reports The Financial Times.
The survey showed that 1,466 laws were introduced by the Coalition Government last year, a rise of 111 from the 2011 total of 1,355.
The news prompted commentators to conclude that the Government’s election pledge to ‘cut red tape’ was faltering, although others have pointed to the fact that the Government had a particularly busy year, pushing many reforms through Parliament.
The author of the Sweet & Maxwell report, Daniel Greenberg, said that many of the reforms were aimed at making life simpler for businesses; however, he added that the volume of new laws meant there was a lot to get through.
“There is still a huge amount of change for them to digest at a time when they are battling a tough economic climate,” he told the FT.
A spokesman for the Department of Business was quick to point out that the number of laws on the statute book was not the best indication of the success or failure of legislative reform.
“As the report rightly notes, many of the reforms are lightening the load for business. We have cut the cost of regulation to business by nearly £1bn,” they said.
The passing of a new law is always necessary to remove a previous set of rules from the statute book, making counting the number of laws passed a poor gauge of the total regulatory burden.
Rise in number of new UK laws prompts red-tape claims (The Financial Times – free signup)
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