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Economy Economy

Examine ways to improve regulation of utilities and transport infrastructure

Last updated: 02:33pm 8 December 2019

We will therefore examine ways in which the regulation of utilities and transport infrastructure can be improved to deliver a better deal for customers and sharper incentives for investment efficiency.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.16

Our verdict

One of the cornerstones of Conservative Party ideology is limited state intervention. In 2011 the coalition government launched the Red Tape Challenge, inviting the public to assist in identifying unnecessary bureaucracy arising from excessive regulation. The same administration introduced the ‘one-in, two-out’ rule to limit the introduction of new regulations for business. In 2017 the manifesto committed to continuing those initiatives, and additionally this policy promised to examine the regulation of utilities and transport infrastructure.

In October 2018 the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced he would commission the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to carry out an independent study of utilities regulators to “ensure they have the ability to encourage investment, promote competition and innovation and meet the needs of consumers”.

In February 2019, the NIC launched a call for evidence on the Future of Regulation Study, which ran until April 2019. In October 2019, the Commission published the final report of the study, Strategic investment and public confidence, making recommendations to reduce emissions, improve connectivity and build resilience.

From July to September 2018, the government held a consultation on its transport strategy and one of the aims was “ensuring a regulatory framework that evolves with the times”. Following that, in March 2019, the government announced a review of regulations based around its Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy.

The government has consulted on and published strategies and recommendations on the future of utilities and transport regulations. This policy is ‘done’.

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