The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1993Prime Minister (1990-1997)

Mr Major’s Remarks at Deregulation Progress Meeting – 20 July 1993

Below is the text of Mr Major’s remarks made at the Deregulation Progress Meeting, held at Number 10 Downing Street on Tuesday 20th July 1993.


What I want to do this morning is to review some of the progress that has been made on deregulation over the last year.

I believe everyone in the room acknowledges the importance of that work. Certain regulations undoubtedly, as I am sure John Sainsbury and his colleagues will tell us later, impose substantial extra costs on businesses, and are especially damaging to small businesses. Most of the surveys we have seen of small businesses have indicated very clearly their concerns about the weight and impact of regulations. They have a damaging effect on market entry, and a damaging effect on business generally.

So I want to have a look at that and see, where it is appropriate, whether we are able to remove regulations from business. And I believe it is imperative that we reach a conclusion both that we can do that and that we intend to do that.

We decided last Spring to seek certain outside advice from businessmen and that is why we have such a distinguished range of guests here this morning. Michael Heseltine set up 7 Task Forces to review regulations and to make recommendations as to how we might deal with them. And I am delighted to see John Sainsbury and his colleagues here today and I am grateful to him and them for the work they have done in this respect over the last few months.

There are 4 particular areas that I want us to cover this morning.

First I want to hear from Lord Sainsbury and the Task Force Chairmen about their preliminary findings. I know he is going to focus on how we can make regulations less damaging for small companies.

Secondly, I want to look at the way that enforcement of regulations has become excessive. I think we can and must change this.

Thirdly, I want to look at European regulations. European regulation gets a great deal of harsh comment in the business community and I think much of that is justifiable. We also have to acknowledge that we sometimes add extra regulations to European regulations ourselves and make them even more unpopular. I want to look at a number of specific ways that subsidiarity can prevent future regulation on business.

Fourthly, many people here today have come up with ideas for deregulation. We want to look at some of those and decide how we can embody those in Parliamentary legislation – primary or secondary – in order that we can remove a substantial amount of unnecessary regulations.

We have a great deal to be done and a great deal to cover this morning. What is perfectly clear from the Task Force reports that we have is that there is too much regulation that is damaging business and does need to be diminished. I hope that at the end of this morning’s session we will be able to move towards a substantial Deregulation Bill for the next session of Parliament.