New trade and investment minister Lord Jones has hit out at the “nightmare of regulation” affecting businesses in the UK.
Speaking at a trade and industry select committee meeting in London last week, Jones, minister of state at the newly created Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, attacked what he described as the “risk-averse culture” driving increases in regulation.
He said: “Constant fear of blame, compensation and victim is driving people to regulate everything you can think of.”
Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed the former CBI director general as minister of state for trade promotion and investment but he has refused to join the Labour Party.
He faced hostile questioning from Labour members of the committee but pointed out that Brown had offered him the job and any concerns should be addressed to him.
He refuted allegations that he has described trade unions as irrelevant. “I said they had better get on with the 21st Century,” he said.
He added: “The challenge in reforming regulation is not just saying I am going to do this differently, it is how you actually impose it to make it work. You have got to have some kind of regulation in the industry. What you must not do is go too far so that employers see regulation as a perceived burden.”