Daniel Hannan, blogging at the Telegraph:
Here’s an eye-popping figure: the cost of EU rules in Britain over the past decade is Â£106.6 billion – accounting for 72 per cent of the cost of all regulation in Britain. Despite repeated noises in Brussels about making life easier for businesses, each year is more expensive than the last. The burden falls most heavily, not on financial institutions or big corporations, but on small and medium firms.
Open Europe, a business group campaigning to turn the European Union into a looser trading area, says official figures show the cost of regulation has risen from Â£16.5bn ($23.7bn) a year in 2005 to Â£28.7bn last year.
The report, based on a study of more than 2,000 impact assessments published by Whitehall departments, found that EU legislation was responsible for almost 72 per cent of the annual cost of regulation.
It claimed that the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform â€“ which is responsible for fighting red tape â€“ imposed more regulatory costs than any other government department, describing the department as the UKâ€™s â€œregulation factoryâ€. …
The study found that the cost of EU legislation had risen every year over the past decade, imposing costs on the UK of Â£18.5bn in 2008, compared with Â£12.2bn in 2005. …
The proportion of regulatory costs coming from Brussels is more than 90 per cent for the FSA, environment department and Health & Safety agency, it found. New EU rules for food and feed hygiene more than doubled the FSAâ€™s regulatory burden in 2006, making it impossible to hit its deregulation targets.
â€œThe government effectively has control of less than 30 per cent of the annual cost of regulation,â€ the report says.
Open Europe report .pdf