UK Firms Stung by £12bn in EU Regulation Costs
UK firms stung by £12bn in EU regulation costs Reuters

Changes to European Union regulation have cost British businesses £12bn since Brussels adopted new legislative powers in 2009, and now costs the UK £6.1bn annually.

Lobby group Business for Britain called for a significant overhaul of EU rules, as decisions from Brussels often economically impact UK firms that are usually against the changes.

"[We give a voice to the] large, but often silent, majority among Britain's business community who want to see EU reform," said Business for Britain in its mission statement.

The group also gave an example of how unpopular EU rules went ahead without major support from the UK.

"The Lisbon Treaty was hugely unpopular at the time, and we can now see that it has increased the cost of doing business in Britain," said Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Business for Britain, in a statement.

"Our research makes a compelling case for the government to use the forthcoming renegotiation to reverse some of the most expensive provisions of the Lisbon Treaty."

In January this year, UK Chancellor George Osborne warned the EU that Britain is likely to exit the bloc unless it overhauls its structure and the power it has over its members.

He said that if his and Prime Minister David Cameron's ruling Conservative party is re-elected in 2015, they will keep their promise to renegotiate the UK's EU ties before offering Britons an in/out membership referendum.

"EU treaties are not fit for purpose and [Britain] doesn't want the UK to be forced to choose between joining the euro and leaving the EU," said Osborne in a benchmark speech.

He added that "non-Euro states need their rights legally protected if countries like Britain are to remain in the EU."

Osborne also said that the EU has to stop resisting change and make a number of reforms, otherwise it is likely that Britain's electorate will vote to exit the 28 nation bloc.

"Our determination is clear: to deliver the reform and then let the people decide," said Osborne.

"It is the status quo which condemns the people of Europe to an ongoing economic crisis and continuing decline. And so there is a simple choice for Europe: reform or decline."