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Gold-plating of EU regulations to end

The government has said that it is to end of the practice of ‘gold-plating’ EU regulations when introducing them into UK law.

The aim of the new policy is to make sure that British businesses are not put a competitive disadvantage compared with other European firms.

The key to the new measures will be the principle of copying out the text of European directives directly into UK law. The direct ‘copy out’ principle will mean that British interpretations of European law are not unfairly restricting British companies.

Business Secretary Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said: “I want British business to be a powerhouse for economic growth and among the most competitive in the world. This move will bring an end to the charge of ‘gold-plating’. The way we implement our EU obligations must foster, not hinder, UK growth by helping British businesses compete with their European neighbours.

“The new principles are a first step towards working with British business and Europe to make sure that we introduce EU rules in a way that will not harm the UK economy. By cutting the red-tape that can reduce competitiveness and making sure that businesses are involved in the process both before, and after through five-yearly reviews, we can get the best deal possible for British companies.”

The new measures will mean that ministers have to conduct a review of European legislation every five years. The review process will involve a consultation with businesses and provide a chance to make sure that European legislation poses as small a burden as possible.

The government will also start work on how best to implement EU directives as soon as they are agreed in Brussels so that businesses will have greater opportunity to influence the regulations and will have adequate warning about how the legislation will be introduced.

Regulations will not be introduced early unless there is a compelling case to do so.

Dr Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Business will welcome the coalition’s efforts to improve the quality of legislation and end the so called ‘gold-plating’ of European directives. Favouring the ‘copy out’ of European legal texts could certainly help to reduce unnecessary complication by government departments.

“However, government officials and ministers will have to oversee a real culture change in Whitehall to make these recommendations a reality and lighten the load on British business.”