For many years we have seen a prevalence of arguments that regulation holds back investment, stifles productivity, job-creation and innovation, suppresses the market entry of SMEs and, ultimately, deters growth. These views have formed the basis for deregulation drives by successive UK governments, not least via plans to revise EU-derived laws through the Retained EU law (Revocation and Reform) Bill.
However, many in the UK private sector have a very different story to tell about regulation. Indeed, contrary to the commonly held view that regulation is manifestly bad for modern economies, bad for growth, and bad for businesses, the essays in this collection explore how sensible, well-designed regulations can (and do) deliver real benefits to the UK economy, as well as bringing about the broader social and environmental outcomes that British people demand.
Written by representatives of UK business groups and entrepreneurs, these essays set out how good regulation can drive innovation, address poor corporate practices, win public trust, open up the closed markets of big tech to competition, and reduce complexity for UK businesses – creating favourable conditions in which they can plan, invest, and operate with confidence.
These businesses express little support for deregulation. Authors point out that, at a time when businesses are facing many other challenges from the current economic climate, this is far from a business priority – a view that was mirrored in our recent YouGov poll of UK businesses.
Together, the voices in this collection sound a clear warning: it is time to move away from an unquestioning political commitment to deregulation, and towards a more balanced, sophisticated debate around the value of sensible regulations – one which recognises the crucial role they have played in creating the society we know today, and the opportunity they offer for British businesses in the future.