Shadow Expenses: Uncosted Regulatory Burdens in Election Manifestos



Economic Affairs



  • The general election campaign has focused on tax and spending promises, with much less attention paid to proposed regulatory measures.
  • Regulations often have well-intentioned goals, including protecting health, safety and the environment.
  • But new rules can also impose costs on businesses that hinder economic growth, drive up prices, and stifle innovation.
  • The regulatory proposals in a manifesto will likely have larger economic impacts than the proposed fiscal changes for many of the parties.
  • Despite claims that manifestos are ‘fully costed,’ no party has provided costings for their regulatory proposals.
  • There are a total of 361 policies across manifestos that increase the regulatory burden, while 67 would decrease it:
    • Labour: 62 policies to increase, 13 to decrease.
    • Conservatives: 28 policies to increase, 20 to decrease.
    • Reform UK: 14 policies to increase, 15 to decrease.
    • Liberal Democrats: 128 policies to increase, 11 to decrease.
    • Green Party: 104 policies to increase, 8 to decrease.
    • SNP: 24 policies to increase, 0 to decrease.
  • Britain’s prosperity depends on balanced regulatory controls, and parties should avoid increasing costs with uncertain benefits and without careful analysis.


The general election campaign has featured extensive commentary about tax and spending promises from the political parties, accompanied by an expectation that these fiscal policies are fully costed.1 However, there has been noticeably less public debate regarding the impact of proposed regulatory measures.

The modern state is increasingly characterised by its reliance on regulation rather than public ownership or central economic planning (Majone 1994). Regulations are mechanisms through which the state seeks to enforce or control the behaviour of individuals, organisations and businesses. They encompass primary legislation, secondary legislation, codes of conduct and guidelines.

Regulations are designed to achieve specific policy objectives, including protecting public health, ensuring consumer safety, promoting competition and safeguarding the environment. However, excessive regulation – often called red tape – can incur significant costs, including stifling innovation, hindering economic growth and driving up prices. These costs can outweigh any potential benefits, particularly as regulations interact to increase business burdens.

One study found a 10% increase in regulation is associated with a 0.7% increase in prices (Chambers and Collins 2016). Notably, the sectors with the most regulatory interventions – such as electricity, housing, childcare and finance – have experienced some of the biggest price increases in recent decades in the United Kingdom, while less regulated sectors with more competitive pressures have seen price decreases (Lesh 2024).

Despite claims that manifestos are ‘fully costed,’ no party has provided costings for its regulatory proposals. This briefing does not attempt to provide a cost–benefit analysis of regulatory measures in their entirety or in isolation. In many cases this would be impossible due to a lack of detail. Rather, this briefing aims to highlight the extent of regulatory measures proposed across manifestos and the absence of costings. It highlights the inconsistent treatment of fiscal and regulatory measures.

The briefing provides a list and numerical count of regulatory measures across the six largest parties by vote share: Labour, the Conservatives, Reform UK, Liberal Democrats, Green Party and the Scottish National Party (SNP).

It considers regulations that will impact the cost of doing business in the United Kingdom.2 It does not include measures that involve how the government self-regulates (e.g. Labour’s plan to allow municipal ownership of bus services, the Conservatives’ ban on mobile phones in school during the day, or rules about how to manage the NHS), those that relate to individual criminal law (e.g. Labour’s proposal to ban adult offenders from town centres, Conservatives’ proposal to ban protests outside schools) or tax (e.g. OECD global minimum corporate taxation rate).


Across all six manifestos, 361 policies would increase the regulatory burden, and 67 policies would decrease it.

Labour has proposed 62 policies to increase and 13 to decrease the regulatory burden. This means 4.7 policies to increase the regulatory burden for every one decrease.

Conservatives have proposed 28 policies to increase and 20 to decrease the regulatory burden. This means 1.4 policies to increase the regulatory burden for every one decrease.

Reform UK has proposed 14 policies to increase and 15 to decrease the regulatory burden. This means 0.9 policies to increase the regulatory burden for every one decrease.

The Liberal Democrats have proposed 128 policies to increase and 11 to decrease the regulatory burden. This means 11.6 policies to increase the regulatory burden for every one decrease.

The Green Party have proposed 104 policies to increase and 8 to decrease the regulatory burden. This means 13.1 policies to increase the regulatory burden for every one decrease.

The SNP have proposed 24 policies to increase 0 to decrease the regulatory burden.


Table 1. Party manifesto regulatory commitments

Party Increase burden Decrease burden Ratio
Labour 62 13 4.7
Conservatives 28 20 1.4
Reform UK 14 15 0.9
Liberal Democrats 128 11 11.6
Green Party 104 8 13.1
SNP 24 0 N/A

Figure 1. Party manifesto number of regulatory commitments

Discussion and conclusion

The manifestos contain hundreds of new regulatory proposals touching on various policy areas, from the environment and workplace rights to utility regulation, race relations and housing. These policies, taken together, can be expected to impose tens of billions of pounds in additional business costs. This risks higher prices for households, lower worker wages and stifling entrepreneurial innovation.

Labour’s manifesto is laden with significant new regulatory proposals, ranging from a permanent ban on fracking to extended equal pay duties and stringent energy efficiency standards for rentals. These policies, while well-intentioned, could carry substantial burdens that cannot be overlooked. The Conservatives, relative to Labour, have proposed fewer measures. Yet some, like compulsory terrorist prevention plans for nighttime venues, will impose significant new hassle. The Liberal Democrats and Green Party have over 100 regulatory proposals each, from the likes of cracking down on ticket resales (Liberal Democrats) to compulsory hedgehog holes in all new fencing (Green Party). Reform UK has the fewest propped new regulations of the parties analysed, but would still seek to mandate single-sex spaces, review the Online Safety Bill to address left wing bias, and strengthen CMA powers to ensure ‘fair prices’.

The regulatory measures in the manifesto will likely have larger economic impacts than the proposed fiscal changes for many of the parties. Labour, for example, has proposed just five tax-raising measures, expected to increase revenues by £7 billion more. The business costs related to their regulatory changes will likely be much higher. Just one policy, the proposal to require privately rented homes to meet minimum energy standards would cost £12.2 billion (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 2020).

It is impossible to fully analyse the various proposals’ costs and benefits, particularly as many lack detail. For example, Labour has committed to improving building safety through regulation, but the measures that would be involved are unstated. Nevertheless, there are some preexisting studies from the government and third parties about the potential costs of some of the proposed measures:

  • The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR 2023) has estimated that the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will cost an extra £1,000 per household per year from 2022 until 2050. [Labour, Green Party, Liberal Democrats policy]
  • The government’s impact assessment found that requiring privately rented homes to meet minimum energy standards would cost £12.2 billion (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 2020). [Labour, Liberal Democrats and Green Party policy]
  • The government’s impact assessment for the Renters (Reform) Bill found a cost to business of £1 billion (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities 2023). [Conservative, Labour, Green Party, Liberal Democrats]
  • The government’s impact assessment found that ‘Martyn’s Law’ terrorism impact assessment requirements for nighttime venues would cost businesses £2.7 billion (The Home Office 2023). [Conservative, Labour and SNP]
  • The government’s impact assessment found that the football regulator would cost clubs £79.9 million (Department for Culture, Media and Sport 2024). [Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats]
  • The government’s impact assessment found that the smoking ban would cost businesses £2 billion (Department of Health and Social Care 2024). [Conservative, Labour and SNP]
  • The government’s impact assessment estimated that the junk food advertising ban would cost businesses £664 million (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 2021). [Conservative and Labour]
  • According to my rough and conservative estimate, banning fracking means a loss of £8.1 billion each year of natural gas sales.3

The manifestos also contain some proposals of a deregulatory nature, that can be expected to help reduce burdens on businesses and grow the economy. The Conservatives and Labour manifestos contain a range of proposals to reform the planning system to enable housebuilding and expedite major projects. This is particularly significant considering estimates that planning restrictions are costing Britain’s economy tens of billions of pounds (McClements and Hausenloy 2024). The Liberal Democrats and Green parties would allow more solar and wind projects. The Liberal Democrats also propose simplifying childminder regulation, while the Green Party wants a legal, regulated drug market.

Reform UK’s manifesto contains a significant range of deregulatory policies. This includes a proposal to allow the shale gas industry in the UK and a general commitment to scrap ‘thousands’ of laws that hold back businesses. Reform’s manifesto claims that its policies regarding the economy, energy and Brexit regulations could boost growth by 1%, resulting in an additional £10 billion per year in tax revenue. However, how this calculation is made and what specific measures will be pursued are not stated.

Britain’s prosperity hinges not just on how the state taxes and spends but also on the myriad ways it controls our lives and restricts business activity. While some proposals are commendable, many are nice-sounding measures that are likely to increase costs for uncertain benefits.

Regulatory commitments in manifestos


Increases regulatory burden

  1. Ban Section 21 evictions ‘immediately’.
  2. ‘First dibs’ to new homes policy for local people.
  3. Ban private renters from being exploited or discriminated against.
  4. Allow challenges to unreasonable rent increases.
  5. Strict time limits to address dangerous hazards such as damp and mould in private rented properties.
  6. Ban petrol and diesel cars from 2030.
  7. Ban fracking ‘for good’.
  8. Ban smoking.
  9. Ban vapes from being branded and advertised to appeal to children.
  10. Ban advertising junk food to children.
  11. Ban high-caffeine energy drinks for under-16s.
  12. Ban exploitative zero-hours contracts.
  13. Ban fire and rehire.
  14. Ban trail hunting.
  15. Ban the import of hunting trophies.
  16. Ban ninja swords, lethal zombie-style blades and machetes, and strengthen rules to prevent online sales.
  17. Tougher electricity market regulation.
  18. Enact the socio-economic duty in the Equality Act 2010.
  19. Rights from day one to parental leave, sick pay and protection from unfair dismissal.
  20. Single Enforcement Body.
  21. Increase the minimum wage (by changing the mandate of the Low Pay Commission).
  22. Apply the minimum wage to all age bands.
  23. Disability and ethnicity pay gap reporting requirements.
  24. Equal pay duties by race and disability.
  25. Equal pay and protections from maternity and menopause discrimination and sexual harassment.
  26. Introduce the Race Equality Act, including the right to equal pay for Black, Asian and other ethnic minority people and strengthening protections against dual discrimination.
  27. Encourage workplace pension schemes to invest in UK markets.
  28. Binding AI safety regulation on the handful of companies.
  29. Ban sexually explicit deep fakes.
  30. Introduce the Football Regulator.
  31. Private rented homes must meet minimum energy efficiency standards by 2030.
  32. Ban new leasehold flats.
  33. Tackle unregulated and unaffordable ground rents.
  34. Strengthen affordable home requirements for new developments.
  35. Requirements to ensure buildings are high-quality, well designed and green.
  36. Enact Law Commission proposals on leasehold enfranchisement, right to manage and commonhold.
  37. Ban ‘fleecehold’ private housing estates and unfair maintenance costs.
  38. Improve building safety through regulation.
  39. Reform gambling regulation to strengthen protections.
  40. Water companies that fail to clean up rivers will face special measures.
  41. Powers to block water company executives who pollute from getting bonuses.
  42. Require UK-regulated financial institutions – including banks, asset managers, pension funds, and insurers – and FTSE 100 companies to develop and implement credible transition plans that align with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.
  43. Bank of England climate aim.
  44. End puppy smuggling, farming and snare traps.
  45. Phase out of animal testing.
  46. Limits on ticket resales.
  47. Fair Pay Agreement: collective bargaining agreement in social care, to set pay, terms and conditions and training.
  48. National Care Service that includes new national standards.
  49. New rights for those in residential care to see their families.
  50. Online Safety Act new provisions.
  51. Coroners’ power to assess information held by technology companies after a child’s death.
  52. Action on late payments.
  53. Standardising second-hand batteries information.
  54. Ban new oil and gas exploration.
  55. Ban new coal mines.
  56. Negotiate a veterinary agreement with the European Union (requiring adoption of EU animal and food regulation through ‘dynamic alignment’).
  57. Ban ‘conversion therapy’.
  58. Businesses that employ migrants required upskill workers and improve conditions.
  59. Introduce ‘Martyn’s Law,’ compulsory terrorist prevention plans for nighttime venues.
  60. Update counter extremism rules, including online.
  61. Post-government restrictions on ministers lobbying with new sanctions.
  62. Increased registration and reporting requirements​ for HMRC.


Decreases regulatory burden

  1. Fast-track approval of urban brownfield sites.
  2. Restore mandatory housing targets and ensure planning authorities have up-to-date local plans (therefore streamlining planning applications and making arbitrary requirements and objections more difficult) (1.5 million).
  3. Cut major project red tape – roads, railways, reservoirs and other nationally significant infrastructure.
  4. Update national planning policy to make it easier to build laboratories, digital infrastructure and gigafactories.
  5. Promote (or lift ban) on onshore wind.
  6. Introduce a Regulatory Innovation Office to speed up approvals.
  7. Strengthen presumption in favour of sustainable development.
  8. Reform compulsory purchase compensation rules to improve land assembly and delivery.
  9. Release some greenbelt land to build more homes.
  10. Assess social care workers’ role in basic health treatment and monitoring.
  11. Negotiate a mutual recognition agreement for professional qualifications with the European Union.
  12. Unlock the building of homes affected by nutrient neutrality.
  13. Introduce Community Pharmacist Prescribing Service, granting more pharmacists independent prescribing rights​.



Increase regulatory burden

  1. License scheme and age limits for non-surgical cosmetic procedures.
  2. Introduce the Football Regulator.
  3. Ban advertising of products high in fat, salt and sugar.
  4. Renters Reform Bill, including ‘Section 21’ abolition.
  5. Council powers to limit the number of holiday lets.
  6. Complete leasehold reform, including capping ground rents at £250, reducing them to peppercorn over time.
  7. Ban smoking.
  8. Introduce ‘Martyn’s Law,’ compulsory terrorist prevention plans for nighttime venues.
  9. Introduce forest risk commodities legislation.
  10. Ban sexually explicit deep fakes.
  11. Ban SIM farms.
  12. Ban cold calls on financial products.
  13. Further parental controls over social media, including more effective age verification and parental controls.
  14. Ban new waste incinerators.
  15. Maintain National Living Wage at two-thirds of median earnings.
  16. Improve enforcement of Prompt Payment Code.
  17. Consider recommendations of Baroness Bertin’s Independent Review of Pornography.
  18. Pumpwatch scheme, requiring petrol retailers to share live information on prices.
  19. Prevent private prescription and supply of puberty blockers for gender dysphoria.
  20. Increase fines on utility firms that create ‘street scars’.
  21. Expand Blue Belt marine protection with overseas territories.
  22. Ratify the Global Oceans Treaty.
  23. Ban trophy hunting imports.
  24. Tackle puppy smuggling and livestock worrying.
  25. Ban executive bonuses for water companies that have committed a serious breach.
  26. Implement the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate.
  27. Back the British Sustainable Aviation Fuel mandate.
  28. UK-wide Deposit Return Scheme.


Decrease regulatory burden

  1. Annual licensing rounds for oil and gas production.
  2. Ensure Basel III capital requirements do not undermine SME lending.
  3. Implement Mansion House reforms.
  4. Build on Edinburgh Reforms.
  5. Increase the employee threshold to lift more companies out of burdensome reporting requirements.
  6. Create more Freeports.
  7. Reform EU environmental rules to enable faster infrastructure development.
  8. Introduce proportionate requirements to offset environmental impacts of new infrastructure and homes.
  9. Allow quicker changes to approved infrastructure projects.
  10. Introduce new national policy statements regularly for planning and infrastructure projects.
  11. Focus statutory consultees on improving projects in line with clearer objectives to avoid delays.
  12. Reform judicial reviews for infrastructure to prevent frivolous delays.
  13. Abolish ‘nutrient neutrality’ rules.
  14. Fast-track approval development on ‘brownfield land’.
  15. Require the London Mayor to approve more homes on brownfield sites.
  16. Remove Section 106 burdens on smaller sites.
  17. Simplify the planning process for people who build or commission their own home.
  18. Amend planning laws to enable local market days.
  19. Reform the planning system for fast-track permissions for building infrastructure on farms.
  20. Reform the planning system to allow more trees to be planted.


Reform UK

Increases regulatory burden

  1. Boost the monitoring, appeals and enforcement process for renters with grievances (instead of the Renters’ (Reform) Bill).
  2. Enforce Section 106 agreements.
  3. Leasehold reform: cheaper and easier to extend to 990 years and buy freeholds.
  4. Mandate single-sex spaces.
  5. Review the Online Safety Bill (to address left-wing bias on social media).
  6. Tighter regulation of critical national infrastructure.
  7. Cap standing charges.
  8. CMA powers to ensure ‘fair pricing’.
  9. Clearer British food labelling.
  10. Stop foreign owners from using British flags of convenience.
  11. Extend the ban on pair trawling for bass beyond the South East and 12-mile territorial waters.
  12. Ban Dutch vessels from electric pulse fishing in Britain’s 200-mile EEZ.
  13. Fish caught in British waters to be landed and processed in the UK.
  14. Comprehensive Free Speech Bill to stop left-wing bias (would apply to private institutions).


Decrease regulatory burden

  1. Fast-track licences for North Sea gas and oil.
  2. Grant shale gas licences on test sites for 2 years.
  3. Fast-track new housing on brownfield sites.
  4. ‘Loose fit planning’ policy for large residential developments with preapproved guidelines and developer requirements.
  5. Scrap thousands of laws holding British business back, including employment laws.
  6. Scrap Net Zero target.
  7. Fast-track clean nuclear energy with new Small Modular Reactors.
  8. Rescind over 6,700 retained EU laws – state aid, competition, employment, net zero and the environment.
  9. Renegotiate the EU trade and cooperation agreement to remove the requirements for a ‘level playing field’.
  10. End ban on petrol and diesel cars.
  11. End legal requirements for manufacturers to sell electric cars (ZEV mandate).
  12. Change planning laws to support farm shops.
  13. Cut farming red tape from HMRC and the British Cattle Movement Service.
  14. Review the pension system to reduce complexity.
  15. Replace the 2010 Equalities Act.


Liberal Democrats

Increases regulatory burden

  1. Require all products to outline a short, clear version of their data and privacy approach.
  2. Require the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority to have regard to financial inclusion.
  3. Introduce a general duty of care for the environment and human rights in business operations and supply chains.
  4. Ensure the UK has the highest possible standards of environmental, health, labour and consumer protection, at least matching EU standards.
  5. Create an AI regulatory framework.
  6. Allow staff in list companies with more than 250 employees to request shares to be held in trust.
  7. Require large companies to have a formal statement on ‘purpose’ with reporting requirements.
  8. Extend the scope of the existing ‘public interest’ test.
  9. Require companies with over 250 employees to sign up for the prompt payment code.
  10. Scrap the lower apprentice minimum wage rate.
  11. Establish a Worker Protection Enforcement Authority.
  12. Establish a new ‘dependent contractor’ employment status.
  13. A 20% higher minimum wage for zero-hour contracts.
  14. Right to request a fixed-hours contract after 12 months for ‘zero hours’ and agency workers.
  15. Shift the burden of proof in employment tribunals regarding employment status from individual to employer.
  16. Ban petrol and diesel cars from 2030.
  17. Immediately require all new homes and non-domestic buildings to be built to a zero-carbon standard.
  18. Reintroduce requirements for landlords to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties to EPC C or above by 2028.
  19. Social tariff, discounted energy for vulnerable households.
  20. Eliminate regional differences in domestic energy bills.
  21. Ban new coal mines.
  22. Require UK-listed large companies to set and report on net zero targets.
  23. Regulate financial services to encourage climate-friendly investments.
  24. Create new powers for regulators to act if banks and other investors are not managing climate risks properly.
  25. Vaping regulations to discourage use by children.
  26. Ban single-use vapes.
  27. Restrict junk food outdoor advertising and TV advertising to post-watershed.
  28. Create a National Care Agency to set national minimum standards of care.
  29. Regular respite breaks for unpaid carers statutory guarantee.
  30. Paid carer’s leave entitlement.
  31. Make ‘caring’ a protected characteristic under Equality Act 2010.
  32. Require employers to make reasonable adjustments for carers.
  33. Carer’s Minimum Wage.
  34. Make ‘care experience’ a protected characteristic under Equality Act 2010.
  35. Require the majority of carers working with two- to four-year-olds to have Early Years qualification or be working towards one.
  36. Include special educational needs and disabilities in training for early years staff.
  37. Create a single childminder register.
  38. Make all parental pay and leave day-one rights, including for adoptive parents and kinship carers.
  39. Double Statutory Maternity and Shared Parental Pay to £350 a week.
  40. Increase pay for paternity leave to 90% of earnings.
  41. Introduce an extra use-it-or-lose-it month for fathers and partners, paid at 90% of earnings, with a cap for high earners.
  42. Require large employers to publish parental leave and pay policies.
  43. Six weeks of use-it-or-lose-it leave for each parent, paid at 90% of earnings and 46 weeks of parental leave to share between themselves as they choose, paid at double the current statutory rate.
  44. Introduce paid neonatal care leave.
  45. Require banks to reimburse victims of automated push payment scams.
  46. Introduce new laws to crack down on puppy and kitten smuggling.
  47. Increase enforcement of laws against storm overflows.
  48. Legally binding target to prevent sewage dumping into bathing waters and highly sensitive nature sites by 2030.
  49. Transform water companies into public benefit companies.
  50. Ban bonuses for water bosses until discharges and leaks end.
  51. Replace Ofwat with a tough new regulator with new powers.
  52. Double the size of Protected Area Network and woodland coverage by 2050.
  53. Double area of most important wildlife habitats.
  54. Clean Air Act to tackle air pollution.
  55. Strengthen the Office for Environmental Protection.
  56. Give local environmental groups a place on water companies’ boards.
  57. Introduce social tariff for water bills.
  58. Require sustainable drainage systems in new developments.
  59. Mandate real-time reporting on sewage dumping.
  60. Pass a new Environmental Rights Act.
  61. Protect at least 30% of land and sea areas by 2030 for nature’s recovery.
  62. Apply to join the European Environment Agency.
  63. Protect a million acres of green space.
  64. Require large businesses to publish transition plans to become nature positive.
  65. Introduce nature-related financial disclosure requirements for large businesses.
  66. Require new developments to result in a significant net gain for biodiversity.
  67. Introduce a deposit return scheme.
  68. Eliminate non-recyclable single-use plastics within three years.
  69. Protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 through the UN High Seas Treaty.
  70. Finalise a Global Plastics Treaty to cut plastic pollution worldwide.
  71. End plastic waste exports by 2030.
  72. Ban horticultural peat and the routine burning of heather on peatlands.
  73. Tackle ‘greenwashing’ by introducing new Blue Carbon and Soils Carbon Standards that are properly enforced and accredited.
  74. Create a network of marine protected areas.
  75. Negotiate a veterinary and plant health agreement with the European Union (requiring the adoption of EU animal and food regulation through ‘dynamic alignment’).
  76. Ban on bottom trawling in marine protected areas.
  77. Strengthen the Groceries Code Adjudicator.
  78. Provide local authorities with greater powers to inspect and monitor food production.
  79. Increase checks on imported food.
  80. Introduce robust and clear-to-understand food labelling.
  81. Pass a comprehensive new Animal Welfare Bill.
  82. Ban foie gras and food produced with antibiotic growth promoters.
  83. Improve animal health standards, including banning on caged hens and preventing unnecessarily painful practices in farming.
  84. At least match the EU’s stricter rules on preventative use of antibiotics.
  85. Immediately ban no-fault evictions.
  86. Make three-year tenancies the default.
  87. Create a national register of licensed landlords.
  88. Abolish residential leaseholds.
  89. Cap ground rents to a nominal fee.
  90. Introduce ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ planning permission for developers.
  91. Proactive enforcement of standards for socially rented homes.
  92. Tenant panels.
  93. Give local authorities new powers to control second homes and short-term lets.
  94. Enhance local authority powers over community assets.
  95. Freeze rail fares.
  96. Simplify public transport ticketing.
  97. Require charging points to be accessible with a bank card.
  98. Protect motorists from unfair insurance and petrol prices.
  99. Establish a Railway Agency.
  100. Increase sanctioning and sacking train operators.
  101. Require airlines to show the carbon emissions for domestic flights compared to rail at booking.
  102. Ban short domestic flights with rail alternatives.
  103. Moratorium on airport expansion.
  104. Require at least 80% of on-demand TV content to be subtitled, 10% audio-described and 5% signed.
  105. Part Two of the Leveson Inquiry.
  106. Crackdown on ticket resale.
  107. Restrict gambling advertising.
  108. Establish a Gambling Ombudsman to redress wrongs.
  109. Implement effective gambling affordability checks.
  110. Tough action against black market gambling.
  111. Establish a football regulator.
  112. Strengthen propriety test for prospective owners and directors.
  113. Require all clubs to have equality, diversity and inclusion action plans.
  114. Expand sport live free-to-air coverage requirements.
  115. Right to flexible working.
  116. Right to work from home for disabled people.
  117. Ban conversion therapy.
  118. Introduce a Digital Bill of Rights.
  119. Regulatory framework for biometric surveillance.
  120. Require social media companies to publish reports on abuse against women and girls and other groups who share a protected characteristic.
  121. End the gender price gap.
  122. Require large employers to monitor and publish data on gender, ethnicity, disability, and LGBT+ employment levels, pay gaps and progression, and publish five-year aspirational diversity targets.
  123. New accessibility standards for public spaces.
  124. Strengthen and expand the lobbying register.
  125. Global convention or treaty to combat disinformation and electoral interference.
  126. Ban imports from areas with egregious abuses.
  127. Rejoin the Single Market.
  128. Close ‘loopholes’ in economic crime legislation.


Decreases regulatory burden

  1. Remove restrictions on new solar and wind power.
  2. More prescribing rights for pharmacists, nurse practitioners and paramedics.
  3. Introduce a legal, regulated market for cannabis.
  4. Simplify childminder regulation.
  5. Expand Neighbourhood Planning across England.
  6. Trial Community Land Auctions (enabling more development).
  7. Permit other operators on Channel Tunnel and HS1.
  8. Negotiate EU-UK travel arrangements for artists.
  9. Repeal ‘Right to Rent’ scheme.
  10. Allow asylum seekers to work after three months.
  11. Negotiate mutual recognition agreements with the EU.


Green Party

Increases regulatory burden

  1. National pay, terms and conditions for all care workers.
  2. Ban immigration agents’ commission.
  3. Ensure disabled workers have proper pay and conditions.
  4. Empower local authorities to introduce rent controls.
  5. Require local authorities to spread out small developments instead of approving larger developments.
  6. Require new homes to meet Passivhaus or equivalent standards.
  7. Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard to EPC C.
  8. Right to insist that their landlords access property-linked green finance.
  9. Empower local authorities to bring empty homes back into use.
  10. End Section 21 no-fault evictions.
  11. Introduce long term leases.
  12. Renters’ right to demand energy efficiency improvements.
  13. Private Residential Tenancy Boards.
  14. Local authorities, registered landlords and community housing ‘first option’ to buy certain properties at ‘reasonable prices.’
  15. Local plans to set viability levels for development with no subsequent negotiation with developers.
  16. Demolition to require full planning application or inclusion in a local development order.
  17. All new-build homes required to maximise the use of solar panels and heat pumps, or equivalent low carbon technologies.
  18. All planning applications required to include whole-life carbon and energy calculations, covering construction, maintenance and operational use.
  19. All materials from demolished buildings need to be considered for reuse.
  20. Future-proof building design, banning gas boilers and insufficient insulation.
  21. Ban new car-dependent developments.
  22. Ban new oil and gas licences.
  23. Cancel recently issued fossil fuel licences.
  24. Community ownership part in all sustainable energy infrastructure.
  25. Community ownership part in all onshore sustainable energy infrastructure in the locality.
  26. Regulate biofuels.
  27. Ban imported wood for burning.
  28. Ban new nuclear power stations and campaign to phase out existing stations.
  29. Reduce emissions of fluorinated gases in manufactured goods.
  30. Increase single-use plastic bans.
  31. UK banks must outline a pathway to divestment of fossil fuel assets by at least 2030.
  32. Bank of England direct private lending towards sustainability.
  33. Credit bans/ceilings for unsustainable activities with mandatory targets.
  34. Non-bank financial institutions required to remove fossil fuel assets by 2030.
  35. FCA targets to eliminate fossil fuel exploration from UK stock market.
  36. Ban new issuing of shares for fossil fuels.
  37. Prompt Payment Code into law.
  38. Require manufacturers to offer ten-year warranties on white goods.
  39. Comprehensive ‘right to repair’.
  40. Require manufacturers to produce only the most energy-efficient white goods, TVs, lighting and electric cookers.
  41. Company directors required to prioritise wellbeing of ‘all living entities’ and avoid negative environmental and social consequences.
  42. Charter of Workers’ Rights.
  43. Introduce a maximum 10:1 pay ratio.
  44. Introduce a minimum wage of £15 an hour for all.
  45. Full employment rights from day one.
  46. Mandatory pay audits for large and medium-sized companies.
  47. Safe sick pay.
  48. Equal rights for ‘gig economy’ and zero-hours contract workers.
  49. Workers’ right to access their data and appeal management decisions.
  50. Gig economy employers who repeatedly breach the law lose their licence.
  51. Pay-gap protections extended to all protected characteristics, including ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation.
  52. Right to flexible working arrangements.
  53. Rights of Nature Act, including standards for soil quality and phasing out the most harmful pesticides.
  54. Climate and Nature Act.
  55. Clean Air Act.
  56. Strengthen Green Belt, National Landscapes and Sites of Special Scientific Interest protections.
  57. End pollution into rivers and the sea from fertilisers, agricultural waste and sewage.
  58. Right to Roam Act.
  59. Protect 30% of land by 2030.
  60. Re-wetting of all peatland and increasing unharvested forest and woodland by over 50%.
  61. Compulsory hedgehog holes in all new fencing, swift bricks and bee corridors.
  62. Protect 30% of sea by 2030.
  63. Ban all destructive fishing practices from Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and other domestic waters.
  64. Develop soil health monitoring programme.
  65. Commission on Animal Protection.
  66. Enhance regulation and controls on companion animals.
  67. Compulsory licensing of everyone working with animals.
  68. End horse and greyhound racing.
  69. Licensing scheme for kept animals.
  70. New dog control law.
  71. New laws against animal theft.
  72. Ban monkey imports.
  73. Ban animal testing.
  74. Ban all trail hunting, trophy hunting and commercial shooting of game birds.
  75. Ban badger culling, except for those licensed by Natural England.
  76. Ban firearms and lethal weapons, except on registered premises.
  77. Ban the use of lead ammunition.
  78. Ban all forms of snaring.
  79. Ban factory farming.
  80. Enforce maximum stocking densities.
  81. Prohibit antibiotic use in farm animals.
  82. Ban on cages and close confinement.
  83. Ban deliberate mutilation of farm animals.
  84. Highest protection for British territorial and overseas waters.
  85. Ban on bottom trawling and other destructive fishing practices.
  86. Implement deep-sea species protection.
  87. Strengthen Grocery Standards Adjudicator and the Food Standards Agency powers.
  88. Regulate food market practices, including new legally binding codes.
  89. Oppose all new road-building plans.
  90. End sales of new petrol- and diesel-fuelled vehicles by 2027.
  91. End use of petrol and diesel vehicles on the road by 2035.
  92. Ban domestic flights for journeys that are less than three hours by train.
  93. Halt airport capacity expansion.
  94. New transparency rules on political lobbying.
  95. Create a ‘think tank’ designation with transparency requirements.
  96. Amend the Online Safety Act to protect democracy.
  97. Planning controls to protect school playfields from development.
  98. Ban individuals or companies owning more than 20% of media market.
  99. Implement Leveson part two.
  100. Digital Bill of Rights.
  101. Precautionary regulatory approach to AI.
  102. AI intellectual property protection.
  103. New international law against ecocide.
  104. Rejoin EU and EU’s customs union (requiring implementation of new EU regulations).


Decreases regulatory burden

  1. Drug law reform.
  2. Removal of regulatory barriers to community energy.
  3. End de facto ban on onshore wind.
  4. Planning system reform to encourage renewable generation.
  5. Open more coastal waters for offshore wind and marine energy.
  6. Review planning regulations to protect the nighttime economy.
  7. EU-UK reciprocal visa-free travel agreement.
  8. Decriminalise sex work.

Scottish National Party (SNP)

Increases regulatory burden

  1. Increase maternity pay.
  2. Statutory social tariff for energy, broadband and mobile charges.
  3. Cut in standing charges.
  4. Remove standing charges for anyone with a prepayment meter.
  5. Energy Company Obligation for fuel poverty scheme.
  6. Fair energy pricing and rebate scheme for Highland and Islands residents.
  7. Robust climate compatibility assessment for new oil and gas licences.
  8. Ban new nuclear plants in Scotland.
  9. Ban new coal licences.
  10. A veterinary agreement with the EU requires the adoption of EU regulations.
  11. Re-enter the single market, requiring adoption of EU regulations.
  12. Ban the import and sale of new, non-zero-emission buses by 2025.
  13. Include major Scottish national team matches on the list of sporting events for free-to-air channels.
  14. Scrap exploitative zero-hours contracts.
  15. Ban ‘fire and rehire’ practices.
  16. Increase the minimum wage.
  17. End age-based minimum wages.
  18. Create a single status of ‘worker’ for all except self-employed.
  19. Increase maternity leave to one year and set at 100% of average weekly earnings for the first 12 weeks, then 90% for 40 weeks or £150.00, whichever is lower.
  20. Increase shared parental leave from 52 to 64 weeks, with the additional 12 weeks to be the minimum taken by the father on a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ basis.
  21. Ban smoking.
  22. Ban single-use vapes.
  23. Introduce ‘Martyn’s Law,’ compulsory terrorist prevention plans for nighttime venues.
  24. Ensure enforcement of and strengthen Online Safety Act.

About the author

Matthew Lesh is the Director of Public Policy and Communications at the Institute of Economic Affairs. His papers include ‘Breaking the News? Should digital platforms be required to fund news publishers?’, ‘Expanding the Web: The case against net neutrality’ and ‘An Unsafe Bill: How the Online Safety Bill threatens free speech, innovation and privacy’. He often appears on television and radio, is a columnist for London’s City A.M. newspaper, and has written for dozens of publications including The Times, The Telegraph and The Spectator. He is also a Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute and the Institute of Public Affairs. Matthew graduated with First Class Honours from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Arts (Degree with Honours) and completed a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration at the London School of Economics, where he received the Peter Self Prize for Best Overall Result.

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BGS (British Geological Survey) (n.d.) Shale gas in the UK (

CEBR (2023) The delayed ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars shows that the UK Prime Minister is now dancing to the beat of the evidence, 22 September, (

Chambers & Collins (2016) How Do Federal Regulations Affect Consumer Prices? An Analysis of the Regressive Effects of Regulation, Mercatus Center (

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (2020) Improving the Energy Performance of Privately Rented Homes in England and Wales, September (

Department for Culture, Media and Sport (2024) Regulation of English men’s professional football, Impact Assessment 18 March (

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (2021) Introducing a 2100-0530 watershed on TV and online restriction for paid advertising of food and drink that are High in Fat, Salt and Sugar (HFSS) products, Impact Assessment, 25 May (

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (2023) Renters (Reform) Bill Impact Assessment, 12 May (

Department of Health and Social Care (2024) Tobacco and Vapes Bill, Impact Assessment, 20 March (

EIA (US Energy Information Administration) (2013) Technically Recoverable Shale Oil and Shale Gas Resources: An Assessment of 137 Shale Formations in 41 Countries Outside the United States, June (

Majone (1994) ‘The rise of the regulatory state in Europe’, West European Politics, 17(3), pp. 77–101 (

McClements and Hausenloy (2024) Cooped Up: Quantifying the Cost of Housing Restrictions. Adam Smith Institute, (

Statista Research Department (2014) Weekly UK NBP natural gas prices 2024, 18 June (

Lesh (2024) Graphic Content: How Red Tape is Fuelling the Cost of Living Crisis, Institute of Economic Affairs (

The Home Office (2023) Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill – Martyn’s Law, Impact Assessment, 2 May (


  1. See, for example, Becky Morton, ‘Parties pressed over funding of election pledges’ BBC News, 9 June 2024 (
  2. Some measures could involve elements of both regulation and deregulation, such as alignment with EU rules or the expansion of Neighbourhood Planning. However, these mixed or ambiguous cases are not the majority. If there is a ban on something that is not currently banned, that is unambiguously an increase in the regulatory burden. If there’s a proposal to make something legal or easier, it is a reduction.
  3. The Bowland Shale Formation and Hodder Mudstone Formation total gas-in-place estimate has been estimated at between 822 and 2281 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), with a central estimate of 1,329 Tcf (BGS n.d.). US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that about 10–30% of shale gas-in-place can be recovered (EIA 2013), meaning a low estimate of 130 Tcf of potentially extractable gas. If we assume a modest extraction of 1 Tcf per year, at the current price point of 81.32 pence per therm (Statista Research Department 2014), this would add up to £8.1 billion.

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