Protecting All We Care About: Fixing the UK’s Regulatory Crisis

June 4, 2024

Ahead of the General Election, Good Jobs First has teamed up with UncheckedUK to host an event on the current state of enforcement in the UK, and what can be done to improve it.

An aerial shot of the Tower Bridge in the United Kingdom.
Source: Mike Bird/Pexels

The recent scandals of sewage dumping, contaminated drinking water, and school meal failures show the cost to the public when sufficient protections are not in place. Data from Violation Tracker UK, and recent work undertaken by a variety of organisations, demonstrate just how critical the effect of regulatory failure is on the UK workforce, public, and environment.

On 6 June, Good Jobs First and UncheckedUK will be hosting a conference in Westminster, bringing together leading voices from the movement for better regulations.

We will be joined by speakers from the Resolution Foundation, the Trades Union Congress, Spotlight on Corruption, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, Friends of the Earth, the Financial Times, and others to outline the challenges and consider solutions, ahead of polling day and a new government.

In our report to accompany the conference, we show how systemic the current problems are. Labour market enforcement, environmental regulation, consumer protection, and financial service oversight are all facing the same issues of fragmentation in the regulatory system: low enforcement rates, increasing regulator remits and workloads, and an over-reliance on the court system.

Research by UncheckedUK shows that better regulation is popular with the public, but far too often the narrative is skewed in favour of viewing regulation as burdensome ‘red tape’.

A sewage pipe on the beach.
Source: Lolostock for Canva

Over a decade of cuts to regulators and local authorities, further deregulation and a system that promotes corporate self-regulation over enforcement should instead be viewed alongside figures that demonstrate systematic failure to uphold laws. Last year less than half of the government’s own estimated numbers of workers paid below the minimum wage were paid arrears, sewage discharges doubled, record numbers of people were admitted to hospital with contaminated food-related illnesses and an estimated £219 billion was lost to fraud.

We look forward to exploring the challenges further and working together to develop solutions.

This election, let us make sure that public protections are on the agenda for politicians across the political spectrum.

If you would like to join the waiting list for the conference, you can sign up here.

As ever do not hesitate to get in touch if we can help you navigate our data: [email protected].

Read the full report.

Follow us on Twitter at VT__UK (two underscores).