Speaking to the Britsh Chambers of Commerce, Conservative leader Michael Howard committed to "A government that's on your side. A government that spends within its means. A government that gets rid of needless and costly regulation".
Michael and Sandra campaigning in Folkestone last week
27,000 new regulations under Blair
Mr Blair has introduced more regulations than any of his predecessors. In his first seven full years, he introduced over 27,000 regulations. That's 15 new regulations every working day.
"The biggest complaint I get from business right across the country is that regulation and red tape are damaging business, damaging competitiveness and damaging jobs.
The desire to over-regulate seems to be embedded in the bricks and mortar of Whitehall. Only a serious and systematic approach will keep it at bay. Fewer regulators and fewer bureaucrats will mean fewer regulations.
And we have to curb the enthusiasm of the lawyers in gold-plating EU regulations.
We will take action:
- For the first time ever, there will be in the Cabinet a Secretary of State for Deregulation. His job will be to deregulate. It'll be exactly what it says on the tin.
- There'll be strict regulatory budgets for each government department to cap, and then cut, the cost of regulations that they issue each year
- We'll impose sunset Reviews for new regulations - setting a date on which they must be revalidated or abolished
- We'll exempt small businesses from regulations wherever possible
- We'll reintroduce Deregulation Orders, which Labour abolished, to remove or minimise a burden on business
And on top of that, we will tackle EU over-regulation by:
- Reviving our opt-out from the EU's job-destroying Social Chapter
- Stopping the elaboration, or 'gold-plating', of EU rules in Whitehall
- Only supporting EU regulation that is costed
In the same forum, Bill Midgely, BCC president, who had indicated broad backing for Labour at the weekend, watered down his support in a blunt statement after Mr Brown’s address. He accused the Chancellor of sidestepping the key issue for companies:
"While employers do not dispute and value the undoubted benefits of stability, they will be disappointed that the Chancellor skirted around a firm commitment that a future Labour Government would not increase business taxes. The Chancellor missed a golden opportunity to reassure the business community that it will not face big tax increases after the election."
Click the link to read the Conservatives' manifesto commitments: Action for Business (.pdf file).