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UK Tories To Propose Sweeping Cuts In Red Tape

by Robert Lee,, London

14 August 2007

John Redwood, head of the UK Conservative Party's economic competitiveness policy group, is this week set to unveil a controversial plan to sweep away a plethora of laws and regulations impeding business which he has argued would be a 'tax cut in any other name'.

According to reports, proposals will call for the repeal of European working time regulations, data protection laws, health and safety rules and many regulations affecting the financial services industry, including ending the regulation of mortgage lending.

"This would be the biggest attempt at tackling deregulation ever made by a British government," Redwood, a right winger and a former Cabinet minister, told the Sunday Telegraph. "British business would get a saving of GBP14 billion a year, which would be a tax cut by any other name. It would be on top of any other tax cut the government could achieve."

Redwood went on to tell the BBC that a future Tory government should repeat previous successes in deregulation, such as in the telecommunications market, leaving business with extra money to invest.

"We need to extend that experience much more widely across the economy and show that getting rid of unnecessary rules and regulations is creative, is enterprising and extremely helpful to those who need some help in life," he stated.

Party leader David Cameron, who is attempting to reclaim the political centre ground from the ruling Labour Party, is said to be supportive of the document, which is due to be published on Friday. However, the party is under no obligation to adopt all of the measures, and party spokespersons have said that the proposals would be considered on merit.

Cameron has resisted calls from within the party to commit a future Tory government to tax cuts, arguing that it should not promise what it later may not be able to deliver.

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