Regulation Fatigue

The British Businesses Battling for Brexit

FILE - epa05299338 Former Mayor of London Boris Johnson poses as he launches the Vote Leave Bus Tour in St Austell, Cornwall, Britain, 11 May 2016. Boris Johnson is supporting the Brexit campaign touring the country with a bus. EPA/STR UK OUT (Zu dpa "Boris Johnson vergleicht EU mit Hitler") +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
Former Mayor of London Boris Johnson campaings in Cornwall. The Leave camp is making gains in the polls.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The British referendum is the starkest sign yet of disunity in the European Union, which traces its beginnings to the 1950s.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The U.K. referendum on European Union membership takes place on June 23.
    • The so-called “Brexit” is opposed by British prime minister David Cameron.
    • Polls on Monday showed that potential voters are more likely to vote Leave than Remain.
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    Audio

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British businessman Christopher Nieper hurried through his factory as sewing machines hummed.

The 50-year-old is the second generation to head the family-firm David Nieper, which makes women’s fashion and sells them via catalogs. The boss wasn’t focusing on the people working at the sewing machines but instead fixed his gaze on a storage room that contains equipment that embodies his problem with the European Union: A stepladder.

“For health and safety reasons, we have to allow this ladder to be regularly monitored,” said Mr. Nieper as he shook his head. “Every month, someone comes, takes out the ladders, counts the stepladders. Then we have to fill out a form, make an X and so forth.”

He sees this not as a minor irritation but as a fundamental woe that illustrates the European Union’s widespread regulatory folly.

“This is an example of Brussels’ utterly superfluous compulsion to regulate,” Mr. Nieper said.

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