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Government’s move to cut red tape is impeding public health measures, say charities

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h4925 (Published 15 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4925
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

A government policy designed to reduce the regulatory burden on business is making it increasingly difficult to introduce measures to improve public health in the United Kingdom, such as steering people away from unhealthy foods, a group of medical bodies and charities has warned.

To try to remove and simplify the regulations with which businesses must comply, the last coalition government introduced a “one in, one out” rule in 2010. This required government departments to assess the net cost to businesses of complying with any proposed regulation and to identify measures to relieve businesses of regulation to the same net cost. Proposed new regulations and corresponding deregulations then had to be approved by the Cabinet’s Reducing Regulation Subcommittee before being implemented.1

In 2012 the rule was toughened to “one in, two out,” meaning that departments had to identify regulations for removal that had twice the cost burden on business than any regulation they intended to introduce, effectively making it more difficult to introduce new regulations.

For example, before legislation passed in March to …

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