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Blair backs Brown’s pledge to cut through FSA red tape

Prime Minister Tony Blair has come out in support of Gordon Brown’s pledge to cut back on regulation by the Financial Services Authority.

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry conference last week, Brown told delegates he would cut demands for information, forms and reporting requirements made by the FSA.

He says: “The pre-Budget report on December 5 will introduce 10 simplifications and deregulatory measures which will cut demands for information, forms and reporting requirements.”

Brown says this will cut out up to 20 FSA consultations each year.

He also blasts the regulatory approach followed by successive governments for more than a century as “outdated”.

Brown is instead looking to embrace a more “modern” model of regulation, taking a risk based approach. He says this will be based on “trust in the responsible company, the engaged employee and the educated consumer, leaving government to focus its attention where it should be”.

Brown says there should be no inspection without justification, no form filling without justification, and no information requirements without justification.

Legislation published before Christmas will make the risk-based approach a statutory duty of the regulator. It is claimed this will save businesses up to 300m a year in administration costs.

Speaking at the conference the day after Brown, Blair told delgates he supports Brown’s measures and says the changes must happen if this country is to compete in the world market of the future.

Blair adds: “There will be a Better Regulation Bill early in the new year which will make it easier to amend legislation to make it simpler and less burdensome.”

Robin Gordon-Walker, spokesman for the FSA, says the watchdog made a pledge back in 2003 to cut the number of consultation papers and it has achieved this objective.

He says: “We have an ongoing pledge to consult only when necessary and also to make demands only when necessary.

“We work hard to make the FSA an easy organisation to do business with.”

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