I am pleased to announce to the House today the approach that the Government will take to develop a regulatory system fit for the industries of the future.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by rapid technological change that has the potential to transform our economy for the good. It can drive the creation of new sectors, powered by breakthroughs in areas such as artificial intelligence and robotics. It can help us find new ways of diagnosing and treating diseases or novel approaches to cutting carbon emissions and tackling climate change. It can give consumers greater choice and lower prices through greater competition.
To seize the opportunities that this wave of new technology brings, we must ensure that our regulatory system is open to innovation while maintaining protections for citizens and the environment. The need for reform is urgent: 92% of businesses from a range of sectors think they will feel a negative impact if regulators don't evolve to keep pace with innovation in the next two to three years.
We start from strong foundations. We are ranked among the top 10 global economies by the World Bank for the ease of doing business in the UK, with the quality of our regulatory practices given the highest overall country score by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Our regulators have pioneered cutting-edge approaches such as regulatory sandboxes, which have been emulated across the world. But we must not stand idle as change approaches.
Our modern Industrial Strategy committed to developing a new agile approach to regulation that supports innovation and protects citizens and the environment. The White Paper on Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution sets in motion the reforms our regulatory system needs to meet that commitment, building on recommendations made by the Council for Science and Technology.
We will establish a Regulatory Horizons Council to advise the government on regulatory reform needed to support the rapid and safe introduction of technological innovation. The Council will complement and draw upon existing horizon-scanning activity across government to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future. The Council will also advise on where greater public dialogue is needed to build trust in how innovation is regulated.
We will consult on a digital Regulation Navigator for businesses to help them find their way through the complex regulatory landscape and engage with the right regulators at the right time on their proposals. We will also consult on measures to enhance co-ordination between regulators to ensure that innovations are guided smoothly through the system.
We will support regulators to play a greater role in the innovation economy, including reviewing the case to extend the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund. We will also pilot an innovation test so that the impact of legislation on innovation is considered as it is introduced, implemented and reviewed.
Building on our global leadership in regulatory practices, we will enhance our influence by establishing a partnership with the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution to develop regulatory approaches for new technologies.