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Osborne blasts EU for imposing ‘directive after directive’ on firms

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Chancellor George Osborne has hit out at EU financial regulation, saying it has imposed “directive after directive” on UK firms, “crippling” their ability to compete.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Osborne said the UK needs to achieve “real change” and create a more flexible and competitive EU.

In the last year the EU has proposed directives to regulate the mortgage market, bank capital rules, the transparency of financial products and bankers’ bonuses.

He said: “There are concerns from business that directive after directive, regulation after regulation load costs on European companies, especially small firms, and cripple their ability to compete against new challengers around the world.

“The crisis in the eurozone has created an immediate institutional challenge for the UK: as 17 member states attempt to take steps to save their monetary union, how can we change the EU to protect our interests and make it work for us?”

Earlier today, Conservative MP James Wharton revealed he will bring forward an EU referendum bill on 5 July that will be supported by a three line Tory whip.

The bill will enshrine in law a 2017 referendum on whether the UK should remain in the EU, as promised by prime minister David Cameron in January.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have indicated it will not be party policy to vote with Conservatives meaning the bill is unlikely to pass.

Last night, MP John Baron also proposed an amendment to the Queen’s speech that “expressed regret” an EU referendum was not included in the Government’s legislative agenda for the next year.

He said promises of a referendum would not be believed by the British public unless it was enshrined in law and was supported by 115 Conservative MPs.

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