Shadow chancellor wants red tape summit

Howard said ministers were responsible for 4,500 new rules and regulations last year alone increasing the burden on businesses and eroding competitiveness.

He said the government was going back on years of deregulation, which had made Britain more flexible, enabling enterprise to flourish.

Launching a Conservative initiative, he said: ‘We want to simplify taxes and improve transparency. We want to cut the burden of regulation on business, and introduce more effective ways to scrutinise all new regulations.

‘We want the total regulatory burden imposed by each government department to fall year by year.’

The Tory attack follows widespread criticism from across the political divide for the red tape burden the government imposes on business, especially its damaging effect on small enterprises and entrepreneurs.

Institutions to criticise the government recently include the National Audit Office, the Institute of Directors and the Chartered Institute of Taxation.

In May, the IoD puts the cost of red tape to business at £6bn annually.

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