These findings were revealed in a new report by the EU Business Taskforce, which was first established by prime minister David Cameron last year.
One third of the taskforce’s recommendations have been delivered in the last year, saving UK businesses around £100m a year, preventing additional costs of at least £100m a year and banking one-off savings to firms of another £40m.
Yet while acknowledging good progress has been made, business minister Matthew Hancock says the savings need to go further. Further reforms by the EU could potentially be worth up to half a billion pounds to firms, which will be implemented this year.
“It is imperative that the new European Commission goes further and moves much faster to boost business growth. Our business taskforce has made lots of good progress in its first year and been a loud and clear voice for business within the EU,” said Hancock.
“A new Commission is a fresh opportunity to push on this open door and cut the unnecessary EU red tape that suffocates too many businesses. With around half of business regulation originating in Brussels, it is essential that the European Commission ups its game and reduces both the volume and cost of European legislation, creating jobs and a more competitive Europe.”
The initiative builds on the government’s Red Tape Challenge and its “one in, two out” initiatives, to cut domestic regulations that act as a brake on growth. The government estimates that UK firms have already saved more than £1.5bn through this.
“As a European business, we believe a successful single market is vital to future prosperity and we will continue to support reforms that make the EU function better,” said Sir Ian Cheshire, group CEO of Kingfisher.
“The taskforce recommendations have already achieved some good results and it shows that Brussels is ready to listen and act on the concerns of business.”
The task force’s report, Cut EU red tape, had set out 30 recommendations for reform of individual EU rules, specifically concerning removing barriers to overall business competitiveness; starting a company and employing people; expanding a business; trading across borders; and innovation.
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