Regulations continue at the same rate, or indeed, higher even than under New Labour. And about one third of the justifications, according to today’s report from the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC), were “not fit for purpose”. This is all very depressing. Remember that this government said it was going to reduce the bureaucrats whilst preserving the front line, eliminate quangos and new regulation, and stand up to Europe: it is doing none of those things. Regiments are reduced not desk drivers, primary care trusts are being replaced by many more of the same, quangos are being merged into even less effective bodies.

In the case of regulations, the RPC reviewed 278 in the first half of 2011. The new policy of removing one or more old regulations to make space for each new one works badly if it works at all. And it does not apply to European regulation, the more costly burden on British business. The claimed benefits for removing the old regulations were twice what the RPC thought they should have been (£3.7bn).

When will government learn that they should do less, and do it better?

Tim Ambler's new briefing paper, How Basel III threatens small businesses, is available for free download now [3].