Scottish MSPs question regulatory 'economic growth' agenda

By staff writers
4 Dec 2013

Green, Labour and independent MSPs will today seek to amend the Scottish Government's Regulatory Reform Bill to remove a new duty on Scottish regulators to 'promote economic growth'.

In their evidence on the Bill to the Scottish Parliament's Economy Committee, organisations including the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), Oxfam, Scottish Environment Link, the Law Society of Scotland and Consumer Futures expressed many concerns about the new duty and how it will interact with the primary purpose of regulator's work.

Green amendments are being lodged at Stage 2 to either remove the sections that create the new duty or to replace the unclear principle of 'sustainable economic growth' with the well-established principle of 'sustainable development'.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, who is leading on the amendment initiative, said: "Ministers have failed to make the case for a new duty in this Bill. We have heard evidence from a wide range of organisations that creating a new duty on growth might sound good but makes clear and balanced decision-making more difficult."

"Sustainable development is well understood in law and if we must enshrine a principle in this Bill then it should be one that balances economic, social and environmental factors. I hope that the SNP step back from this unjustified imposition on regulators," she added.

* A summary of evidence given on the duty to the EET committee can be found here:
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittee...

[Ekk/3]

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