The Chamber’s Burdens Barometer measures the regulatory burden placed on business since 1998 throughout the UK. It calculates the cost to business of complying with everything from health and safety to employment regulation.
It has estimated that the cost to business of complying with new regulation since 1998 is now standing at more than £65 billion. This has increased from £10 billion in 2001; £15 billion in 2002; £20.6 billion in 2003; £30 billion in 2004; £38.9 billion in 2005; £50.27 billion in 2007 and £65.99 billion in 2008.
For most businesses this figure does not just represent a direct financial cost, but lost man hours and resources. For smaller companies, without in house legal teams or HR departments, complying with regulation diverts time away from running a successful and profitable business.
This disproportionate cost to smaller businesses is not yet fully recognised by government departments. Research carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce as part of our annual impact assessment audit indicates that as many as eight out of ten impact assessments assign the same cost to small businesses as too large.
All government departments are required to complete RIAs that evaluate the risks, costs and benefits of any new regulatory proposal that has an impact on business.