Economic Growth (Regulatory Functions) (Amendment) Order 2024 - Motion to Approve (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 15 April 2024.

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Photo of Lord Johnson of Lainston Lord Johnson of Lainston Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) 7:15, 15 April 2024

I am grateful to the noble Duke for those points. The relationship between the draft document and the formal document is a matter of moments before we finish the debate, so I do not think that is a possibility—but I am happy to be corrected by someone with better procedural knowledge of the House. I will deal with that in a moment, but I do not want to spend too much longer on this because I know that we want to move on.

I return to what this is about. As I say, there are 50 or so regulators covered by the statutory instrument. This is a refresh, so only three new regulators are affected, though there may be other smaller regulators that come into scope; fundamentally, it will be the main economic regulators that we have talked about. The rest of the regulators are covered by the existing statutory guidance, and the refresh improves on that. It is a very good thing, and I hope noble Lords will support us in this quest.

It is right that regulators—even the water regulator—should be pro-innovation, skilled and capable, business aware, proportionate, effective and responsive, and collaborative. I have had a number of businesses represent to me that too many regulators cross over each other and cause a great deal of confusion. They should be internationally aware, and they should be consistent, transparent and accountable. I do not see how any of us in this Chamber can suggest that these ambitions for the regulatory environment are not good. They should be reinforced. If we are to have a strong economy, we have to apply those decent, sensible, long-term economic criteria to the three main regulators.

I am happy to have further discussions as we head towards the White Paper around this. I am also happy to flag other points that noble Lords think will help in constructing a better regulatory framework to enable companies to flourish, consumers and the environment to be protected, and the overall economy of the country to see the necessary growth for the strength and wealth needed to protect our environment in the long term. I am grateful to all noble Lords for their contributions to the debate, and I commend the SI.