SNP MEPs vote against cutting EU Red Tape for small businesses
Yesterday SNP MEPs Alyn Smith and Ian Hudghton, and UKIP MEP David Coburn, voted against British Conservative led plans to cut EU red tape and make life easier for 300,000 Scottish small businesses.
The Strasbourg vote on how the European Commission assesses the costs and benefits (Impact Assessments) of new EU laws was ultimately approved, and puts small businesses at the heart of European Commission thinking. The revised rules will help to tackle unnecessary and unworkable red tape being applied to over 90% of European companies, and underlines the new shift in approach within the EU, in support of reform and promoting competitiveness.
Despite the left and right of the European Parliament uniting to endorse common sense, pro-growth policies advocated by the Conservatives, the SNP and their Green MEP colleagues opposed the reforms.
Some 93% of Scottish businesses have less than 10 employees, and having an exemption will keep them outside the reach of many EU laws, for example burdensome waste and chemicals regulations which are intended for large industrial players, or accounting and corporate governance rules more appropriate for companies traded on a stock exchange.
The vote passed in Strasbourg will cut their compliance and administrative costs, and help slash the mountain of bureaucracy that Brussels has imposed on them in the past. The European Commission will now rubber stamp the plans.
SNP MEPs opposition flies in the face of the Scottish Government's stated aims for EU reform. The Scottish Government website states that:
'It recognises that the volume and complexity of the EU regulation affecting businesses in Scotland can pose a significant administrative and financial burden on them (particularly SME's) and is threatening their ability to recover from the economic and financial crisis'.
It goes on to say:
'The Scottish Government considers that regulatory reform can be effected through further action... and believes the impact assessment tool should be further developed and applied at each stage of the EUlegislative process'
Scottish Conservative MEP Ian Duncan said
'Cutting EU red tape is a major priority for me and my Conservative Colleagues. These new rules will help massively reduce the bureaucracy that Scottish small businesses currently have to deal with and is a clear example of the UK leading the way in reforming Europe. Alyn Smith and Ian Hudghton should explain to the thousands of small businesses in Scotland why they opposed making their lives easier.'
Notes to editors
1. MEPs voted in Strasbourg on Thursday 27 November on the European Commission’s Impact Assessment guidelines. The resolution was endorsed in the final vote by all groups other than the Greens/EFA and the EFDD. The SNP sit in the Green/EFA and David Coburn sits in the EFDD. The result of the vote can be found on page 7 of the following link
2. The Scottish Government's stated agenda for European Reform can be found here http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/08/5067/4
3. Figures outlining the number of Scottish Small businesses can be found here http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0046/00462532.pdf
4. Ian Duncan is the Conservative MEP for Scotland a member of the Industry Committee (ITRE) in the European Parliament.