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New Clause 19 — Power to remove or reduce burdens

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 4:00 pm on 15th May 2006.

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Photo of Pat McFadden Pat McFadden Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office) 4:00 pm, 15th May 2006

I shall move on, as it would be churlish to mention VAT on fuel and the other taxes introduced by the hon. Gentleman's party.

An example of a measure to boost productivity is one that allows companies to patent a new technology that would encourage greater innovation in the economy. That is something in which the Department of Trade and Industry takes a great interest. We could remove obstacles to productivity by making it easier for someone to set up a company and by reducing bureaucracy and the number of forms that need to be filled in. The fourth limb of the definition of a burden involves a sanction, whether criminal or otherwise, and we wish to allow Ministers to propose by order to decriminalise offences or reduce or remove sanctions for regulatory offences. That has been carried over, as I said earlier, from the legal definition of "burden" in the Regulatory Reform Act 2001. The Government believe that it should be possible to decriminalise or reduce sanctions on people who have not complied with regulatory obligations in cases in which targeted sanctions are no longer considered appropriate.