OFR back in limelight for Goldplating review

An independent review is asking the corporate community to come up for evidence of unnecessary Eurocratic red tape, such as that Which Gordon Brown pinned on the Operating and Financial Review when it was scrapped last year.

The OFR was abandoned after months of planning last November with the Chancellor claiming it was a classic piece of goldplating – going beyond the requirements of an EU directive.

At the same time as throwing out the OFR, Brown appointed Neil Davidson QC, former solicitor general for Scotland, to lead a review to look at the issue and the broader issue of over-implementation.

The review not only aims to identify examples of over-implementation but also ways to reduce the burden on business.

It will report its recommendations to Government by the end of 2006.

For the next 12 weeks it is calling on business to cite examples of what it believes to be examples of this kind of goldplating, double banking and regulatory creep.

Examples can be emailed to Mr Davidson’s office at [email protected]

As a significant part of the UK’s environmental legislation trickles down from Europe there is a very real chance the review could have a further impact on industry’s corporate social responsibilities.

“Around half of all new legislation that impacts on business derives from rules agreed by governments at the EU level – so it is important that the Government and society are confident that EU rules are written into the UK statute book as simply and effectively as possible,” said Mr Davidson.

“I am publishing a call to evidence to give everyone the chance to put forward examples of EU implementation they think ought to be independently scrutinised and perhaps revisited by the Government.

“The purpose of my review is not to catalogue whether various sectors of society like or dislike certain rules agreed by governments at the EU level.

“The Review will focus on areas of over-implementation – where the UK has regulations that are stricter or more burdensome than required by EU law – and consider whether these could be simplified.”

Welcoming the review, Cabinet Office Minister Jim Murphy said: “This Government is committed an ambitious regulatory reform agenda in the UK and the EU, and as a part of that Neil Davidson will carry out important work to analyse how EU legislation is implemented in the UK.

“We have strengthened scrutiny of EU regulations, publishing best-practice guidance for policy-makers in the 2005 budget. This review will ensure that the principles we set out are applied to the stock of laws originating from Europe that may not have been transposed in the least burdensome way possible. ”

by Sam Bond

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