Robin Barnett

Robin Barnett

Former Ambassador to Ireland, Dublin

Part of UK in Poland

17th April 2012 Dublin, Ireland

Let’s deregulate!

Deregulation or making it easier to do business is key to a successful growth agenda. I recently joined a panel at SGH (Warsaw School of Economics) on the important theme of deregulation. Governments everywhere are regularly criticised for imposing too many regulatory burdens on business, especially small business, and thereby hampering growth. The SGH discussion was no exception. The business representatives posed tough questions and were critical both of the pace of change and the results so far.

Both Poland and the UK are committed to deregulation and making it easier for business to flourish. We intend to work together to promote this. In Poland, Justice Minister Gowin recently announced measures to deregulate a number of professions and has made clear that this is only a first step. In the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron is determined that his government will be the first in modern history to reduce rather than increase the amount of regulation. The basic principles are less regulation, better regulation or regulation but only as the last resort.

Key ways of achieving this in the UK include the “One-In, One-Out” approach, Review or Sunset clauses, a moratorium on new regulation for micro-enterprises with less than ten employees and the Red Tape Challenge. One-In, One-Out essentially means that, if you introduce a new regulation then you need to get rid of another that imposes at least the same costs on business. Review clauses involve reviewing a regulation after five years, while Sunset clauses mean that a regulation expires, normally after seven years. The Red Tape Challenge allows individuals and business the chance to review regulations and suggest changes. Already 1200 have been reviewed and more than half amended.

Deregulation is a work in progress in both countries. The World Bank currently ranks the UK in seventh place and Poland in sixty second in terms of ease of doing business. But supporting business in this way helps businesses grow, employ more people and pay more taxes. That helps everybody. So public servants at central and local level are having to develop a pro-business mindset. In the UK, you can register a company online and do most other matters online or by phone. When that is true in Poland too, that will certainly encourage even more investment here.

Since returning to Poland one of my major goals has been to work with government and business here to share solutions on growth. We want to help British and Polish business to thrive and promote the EU’s Growth Agenda too.

For those who read Polish, my SGH speech is attached.

1 comment on “Let’s deregulate!

  1. A long overdue initiative. However, what influece does the UK or Poland have in the flow of regulation from the EU – very little, I suspect. Certainly more could be done to resist this.

Comments are closed.

About Robin Barnett

Robin Barnett was British Ambassador to Ireland from 2016 to 2020. Between 2011 - 2016 he held the post of British Ambassador to Poland and his career has previously concentrated…

Robin Barnett was British Ambassador to Ireland from 2016 to 2020. Between 2011 - 2016 he held the post of British Ambassador to Poland and his career has previously concentrated on Central and Eastern Europe and multi-lateral diplomacy.

Robin began his career in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1980 as Desk Officer for Indonesia and the Philippines. In addition to Ireland, he has been posted to Vienna, New York and Bucharest, where he was Ambassador. He has also served as Director of UK Visas and Managing Director of the Business Group in UK Trade and Investment

Robin studied Law at Birmingham University. He has a son and a stepson and is a great admirer of Sir Alex Ferguson and a supporter of Manchester United.