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Agency could assess regulatory impact

The Lib Dems are considering setting up a separate government agency to assess independently the burden on industry caused by the FSA and other regulators.

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Chris Huhne told Money Marketing in Blackpool he has been in discussions with the Dutch government about a model it uses to make an independent report to parliament detailing the impact of regulation. Huhne says the leader of the Dutch Liberal Party has told him the agency has managed to substantially cut the burden of compliance and admin costs on business while preserving the objectives of regulation.

He says the proposals are worth looking at as the chorus of complaints against the FSA and other regulators mounts and the issue shoots up the political agenda.

The MP for Eastleigh is a contributor to the controversial orange Book of economic liberal policies. He believes that an independent review body could be combined with sunset clauses on all new FSA regulation and regular reviews to help tilt the balance towards more effective regulation.

Huhne says when he was an MEP he helped introduce sunset clauses, ensuring regulations passed by the European Commission and the finance ministries lapse after four years and he believes this can be replicated with the FSA to stop “over-indulgent” regulation.

Huhne will be leading the LibDem review of tax policies, expected to finish next spring and to be put to next year’s conference, and he says “everything is up for grabs”.

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