Better Regulation Unit

Oral Answers to Questions — Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons at 1:40 pm on 4 February 1998.

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Photo of Mr Peter Pike Mr Peter Pike Labour, Burnley 1:40, 4 February 1998

What projects have been identified as priorities for action by the better regulation unit. [25363]

Photo of Dr David Clark Dr David Clark Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Cabinet Office, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

A key part of my work is to create a modern and fair Government servicing our citizens. One of the unit's priorities is the smooth operation of the deregulation order-making process. I thank my hon. Friend for his work as Chairman of the Select Committee on Deregulation. Other priorities that we have identified include the direct access Government system for providing regulatory forms and guidance and developing a concordat, local business partnerships and one-stop services. In addition, the unit works closely with the better regulation task force, chaired by Chris Haskins, and with other Departments in the review of existing regimes and the development of new proposals.

Photo of Mr Peter Pike Mr Peter Pike Labour, Burnley

I welcome my right hon. Friend's work to ensure that we obtain the right balance between scrapping unnecessary red tape and providing protection for the British citizen. Bearing in mind the importance of that, how will the better regulation task force ensure best practice?

Photo of Dr David Clark Dr David Clark Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Cabinet Office, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

As my hon. Friend knows, we replaced the deregulation task force with the better regulation task force because we recognised that a balance had to be struck on the lines that he has suggested. More than half the members of the better regulation task force are drawn from small businesses. They have been broken up into various working parties led by experts and they have recently produced a good set of principles for good regulations which have been broadly welcomed in Britain and in the European Union, to the extent that I intend to have them translated into French and German. [Interruption.]

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

Order. The House must come to order. The conversations are much too noisy. I cannot hear.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

Further to the earlier question of my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest, East (Dr. Lewis), will the unit ensure that the principles of the freedom of information Act are upheld? Will he assure the House now that the files held on the Minister without Portfolio will not be destroyed and will be made available when the Act is passed?