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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 7:45 pm on 15th May 2006.

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Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Solicitor General, Shadow Minister (Justice), Shadow Solicitor General 7:45 pm, 15th May 2006

The figure does not refer to the national minimum wage. My hon. Friend the Member for North-East Hertfordshire dealt with that point earlier.

Over-regulation is severely damaging Britain's international economic competitiveness. As my hon. Friend reminded us, according to the World Economic Forum, between 1997 and 2005, the UK slipped from fourth to 13th in the list of the most competitive countries. The London School of Economics has cited over-regulation as one of the main causes of that decline. Small companies have been disproportionately hit, which is why in new clause 9 we propose that any Minister making an order under part 1 powers must ensure that it is deregulatory as it relates to small business.

That is also why, in new clause 17, my hon. Friend Mr. Cash seeks to ensure that, where a fast-track deregulation order is made in connection with a provision concerning our EU obligations, it should be legally binding and effective. The Minister responded that that was an attempt to change policy, but my hon. Friend's amendment deserves a more considered approach. I look forward to hearing the Minister's views.