The Cabinet Office writes on the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Baroness Amos' office forwarded my letter onto the Cabinet Office.

They have written to me with this reply. It really does need a response. I have a few ideas, but any comments would be gratefully received.

Dieu et mon droit

Better Regulation Executive

6th Floor
22 Whitehall
London
SW1A 2WH
Telephone 020 7276 2155
Fax 020 7276 2138

8 March 2006

Dear Mr. ()

Thank you for your letter of 25 February 2006 to Lady Amos concerning, amongst other things, the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill. I have been asked to reply on her behalf.

The purpose of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill is to replace the Regulatory Reform Act 2001, to make it quicker and easier to reform legislation, to support the Government's aim of bringing about risk-based, proportionate and targeted regulation and to make provisions about legislation relating to the European Communities.

Within the Bill there are rigorous safeguards which prevent orders from being made without proper consideration. In particular, a Minister cannot make an order under Part 1 unless he considers that certain conditions are satisfied. Furthermore, a Minister is under a statutory duty to consult on any proposals made. Where a Minister considers it appropriate to proceed with a proposal following consultation, they must lay an explanatory document with the draft order before Parliament.

The Bill also contains a number of procedural safeguards. For example, while it is for the Minister to recommend which level of parliamentary scrutiny they consider to be appropriate for an order, the ultimate determination always rests with Parliament, which can require that more rigorous scrutiny take place. This could either be affirmative procedure, which requires that the relevant committee has forty days to scrutinise a proposal, after which a proposal must be approved by both Houses, or the super-affirmative procedure which requires that the relevant committee has sixty days to scrutinise a proposal after which the proposal must be approved by both Houses.

In addition to these safeguards, the Government has undertaken not to use the order-making powers in the Bill to effect highly controversial measures and the statutory consultation process would identify any proposals that fall into this category. Furthermore, the Government has undertaken not to force any order through in the face of opposition from a committee of either House.

I hope that this allays any concerns that you may have regarding the Bill.

Yours,

(Civil Servant)

Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill Team
22 Whitehall
Kirkland House
London
SW1A 2Wh
020 7276 2155

This is a detailed reply, but it's essentially what I expected. There are several points here which I could come back on, however I want to be sure I don't miss anything, so before I consider a response, I'd be interested to hear any comments. (Please use the on site comment form - indicate if you don't want your comment to appear on the site)

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