NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 5, 2010

How much does regulation, including legislation that originates with the European Union cost the economy of the United Kingdom?  Plenty, says Open Europe, an independent think tank based in London and Brussels. 


  • Since 1998, regulation introduced in the United Kingdom has cost its economy £176 billion (about $265 billion) and 12.6 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Of this, £124 billion (about $187 billion), or 71 percent, had its origin in the European Union.
  • This means that E.U. regulation in the past 11 years has cost every U.K. household an average of £4,912 (about $7,402).

This is a clear argument in favor of regulating at the local or national levels as much as possible, and an indication that deregulation efforts should be targeted at the E.U. level, says Open Europe. 

The United Kingdom has taken positive steps to increase the transparency and accountability surrounding regulation.  However, the government's initiatives are not striking deep enough to have a lasting impact on the overall regulatory environment.  In fact, 30 percent of businesses state that it has become more difficult to comply with regulation in the last 12 months -- only 3 percent believe that it has become easier.  In no small part, this is down to the failure to stem the flow of new E.U. regulations, says Open Europe. 

Source: Sara Gaskell and Mats Persson, "Still Out of Control?  Measuring Eleven Years of E.U. Regulation," Open Europe, March 2010.


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