Rules and Regulations

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 2:12 pm on 22nd February 1995.

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Photo of Anthony Steen Anthony Steen , South Hams 2:12 pm, 22nd February 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the rules and regulations in his Department which have been withdrawn in the last 12 months, or which his Department plans to withdraw in the next 12 months; and what assessment he has made of the impact that this will have on his Department's manpower.

Photo of Mr Ian Lang Mr Ian Lang , Galloway and Upper Nithsdale

I have arranged for information about the Department's deregulation programme to be placed in the Library.

Photo of Anthony Steen Anthony Steen , South Hams

Is the Secretary of State aware that more rules and regulations are being passed by the House than are being repealed? Does he agree that the problem is not just Europe, but the interpretation of those rules and regulations by officials in Scotland and elsewhere? How will the Secretary of State increase the deregulation initiative in Scotland and reduce the number of rules and regulations being considered by the House?

Photo of Mr Ian Lang Mr Ian Lang , Galloway and Upper Nithsdale

I assure my hon. Friend that I am entirely in sympathy with the thrust of his question. It is highly desirable that we reduce the number of regulations as they impose a burden not only on their own administration, but also on those who are obliged, sometimes unnecessarily, to comply with their terms. It is important that they are constantly reviewed and I am ensuring that my Department is fully involved in the deregulation initiative running through all Departments.

Photo of Mr Tony Worthington Mr Tony Worthington , Clydebank and Milngavie

Does the Secretary of State set any rules and regulations for the response times of his Ministers to letters? Do those regulations apply to the noble Lord Fraser, and how is it possible to get an answer from the noble Lord in less than two to three months?

Photo of Mr Ian Lang Mr Ian Lang , Galloway and Upper Nithsdale

I am certain that my right hon. and noble Friend responds in far less time to the vast majority of letters sent to him, but I shall certainly draw to his attention the fact that the hon. Gentleman is awaiting a reply to a letter that has been outstanding for that period.