Respond to Mr Clegg’s Consultation

This is a reissue of my letter to Nicholas Clegg – others should write in to the formal consultation. The government has announced their intention to abolish all or most of items 4,16,17,18 and 27 so far. Please feel free to use the parts of this you support for your response to the consultation.

You have invited contributions of items to include in your Great Repeal Bill. As one who argued strongly over the last decade that we needed substantial repeals, to reverse the flow of law and regulation that is damaging both our liberties and our prosperity, I welcome this. I have pleasure in submitting a few examples of items that should be included in the first Bill. Many of these are taken from “Freeing Britain to compete”, the study of Economic Policy I wrote in the last Parliament. It is available as the last listed download on www.johnredwood.com on the right hand side of the site. Some are taken from suggestions contributed to www.johnredwood.com in my latest consultation.

1. Repeal Working Time Regulations – people should be free to work overtime if they wish. This single item was the biggest extra burden on business in the last 13 years.
2. Repeal Data Protection Act. Keep a requirement on data haolders to look after data, and keep a citizen’s right to their data and its fair handling, but eliminate the quango and licensing regime.
3. Money laundering regulations. Make them less costly and ineffective. Requiring people to supply a passport and utility bill does not stop money laundering but does create a lot of extra cost in the system.
4. Abolish compulsory Home Information Packs – as planned by the Coalition government
5. Mortgage regulation – remove the last government’s detailed mortgage regulation which clearly failed, and strengthen cash and capital regulation of banks and other mortgage providers to avoid future crashes.
6. Remove Gaming licenses for charities
7. Abolish Mandatory horse passports
8. Remove recent over the top regulation of herbal medicines
9.Opt out of Food Supplements Directive
10.Restore statutory dismissal procedures to pre 2000 position
11.Restore social chapter opt out and define UK rules in these araes
12. Repeal compulsory metrication
13. Combine disclosure to the Inland Revenue and Companies House for smaller companies – one form fits all
14 Repeal IR 35
15 Abolish Best Value regime for local government
16 Abolish Comprehensive Performance Assessment regime for Councils
17 Abolish Regional Housing Boards and regional targets
18 Abolish Regional Development Agencies
19 Repeal Legislative and Regulatory reform Act
20 Amend Waste Incineration Regulations 2002 to allow more recycling
21 Amend Health and safety regime to make it more proportionate and effective
22 Repeal Digital Economy Act 2010 cl 11-18
23 Repeal Investigatory powers Act 2000 – too intrusive
24 Repeal Charities Act 2006 – too bureaucratic
25 Repeal Labour’s Terrorism Acts and replace with simpler system which damages the civil liberties of the innocent majority less. Stop long term detention without trial or charge.
26 Cut the use of surveillance cameras and design safer and less congested roads and junctions instead.
27 Repeal the SI requiring 11 million people to have CRB checks before helping children.

These measures would not only restore civil liberties and free more companies to create extra jobs and compete more successfully, but they would also cut public spending on regional and regulatory overhead. More of the detail explanation is available in “Freeing Britian to compete”, pp 53-65 and pp 153-189.

The most popular repeal from contributors to my website would be to repeal the section in the Health Act that bans smoking in all public places, to allow smoking again in specified rooms and areas

Yours sincerely

John Redwood

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27 Comments

  1. APL
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I would endorse that.

    Item 25, Revert to the situation prior to Labour where terrorist provisions should be reviewed annually and explictly approved by Parliament, otherwise they lapse.

    Oh and item 28.

    Abolish the 'private' company the Association of Chief police officers.
    If they wish to set up a club, it should be done by individual subscription from its members own pockets, in the same manner as most other professional bodies. It is wrong to divert public money to a private company.

  2. Nick
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Abolish the house of Lords as part of the crack down on benefits culture.

    600 million plus over 5 years.

    Replace it with referenda by proxy, cost 100 million over 5 years.

    • Eeyore
      Posted July 6, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      OK – as long as referenda by proxy (???) would protect us from oppressive govt legislative intent, as the HoL has done, valiantly, over the last 13 years.

      As I'm not sure they would, I'd like to stick with the HoL.

  3. Nick
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Cut the use of surveillance cameras and design safer and less congested roads and junctions instead.
    =============

    How about introducing CCTV cameras in parliament and Downing street?

    We should know and see everything that's going on.

    After all, its a crime hot spot. 🙂

    What about that little hidden clause at the back end of the pensions bill?

    The one that exempts MPs from taxation on their expenses.

    Either repeal it, or allow everyone the same rights.

    In practice, the best is a new right. It's very simple.

    In the interests of an equal society, everyone shall receive the same rights and priviliges as everyone else.

    So, if MPs vote themselves a little tax haven as they have done, then everyone else gets the same.

    If MPs pass a law saying they can say what they want without fear of libel, everyone else gets that right.

    Very simple.

  4. StevenL
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I invite everyone to support stopping the government licensing car clampers. The Home Office are effectively selling people licenses allowing them to blackmail motorists. Without authorisation to tow your car away from the government they would probably be breaching S14 of the Theft Act 1968 by holding your car for ransom.

  5. Iain Gill
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    data protection breaches should be simple criminal offences enforced by the police like any other criminal law

    however there are large insitutions riding rough shod over the basic protections, holding their employee personnel information in non EC countrues with no basic protection and this should be stamped out, the failure of data protection in this country is that the biggest rule breakers are still doing it and seem to be immune

  6. Caratacus
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Repeal PACE and have every policeman recite the Statement of Common Purpose before logging on to his shift.

  7. Gammidgy
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    "8. Remove recent over the top regulation of herbal medicines"
    I am not familiar with this new legislation. Could the honourable gentleman kindly give an example of these unnecessary rules?
    Do these new regulations demand anything from the purveyors of herbal medicines that is not demanded from suppliers of evidence-based medicine?

  8. forthurst
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    The return of Freedom of Speech would be nice; obviously not for those who lurk in the shadows of its absence to change this country in fundamental ways without the express endorsement or even knowledge of the people. Let's get back to our Common Laws which are wholly adequate to protect people from incitements, intimidations and threats and to detect and prosecute trangressors.

    Democracy is a travesty without Freedom of Speech since it gives politicians carte blanche to decide what is legitimate discourse when they themselves may feel intimidated.

  9. John Wood
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Repeal the law requiring a licence for three people to sing in a pub.

    Allow public houses that have the facilities to designate a specific enclosed room where smoking can be allowed.

    Allow businesses to provide adequate shelter for their staff and customers so that they can smoke outside without being submitted to the vagracies of the UK Weather.

    Impose a stricter rule about duty of care so that a greater burdon of proof must lie on the plaintiff and that a statutory defence of ';for the public good as a whole' is admissable in negligence claims.

  10. Steve
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Ban councils from taking on people to do jobs they could contract the private sector to do. They are confusing DOING the job with BEING the job. Once they have done this they need to use (waste) in house services more to justify them.

    For example my council uses its in house printing department to print and distribute a newspaper to me every month telling me how good they are. Then I'm told my council tax has to go up to pay for the pensions they promised to all the people they have taken on ….

  11. backofanenvelope
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    You say: Restore social chapter opt out and define UK rules in these areas

    Doesn't this require agreement by the EU & the other 26 countries? What chance of that? How many other of your bullets are like this?

  12. Alex
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Well you got the first one wrong. Everyone has the right to opt out and work longer if they wish. The regulations protect workers from being forced to work long hours against their wishes. You have got that so wrong I didn't bother with the rest.

  13. DennisA
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    No. 4. Abolish also the Home energy certificate needed to sell a house, varying in cost from say £50 to £150. Oops, sorry, can't do that, EU Law.

  14. Big John
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 3:22 am | Permalink

    How about creating a law that limits taxes to 33% of GDP.

    That way if the govenment want to put money into some crap, they are forced to cut it from some other crap.

    If they want to tax something they don't like, they have to cut taxes elsewhere.

    If they need more money, then they have to intoduce policys that increase GDP.

    If GDP drops, then they have to cut spending.

  15. christina sarginson
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    This is a very long list for the government to carry out. When these laws were put in place there must have been evidence to make them law in the first place. The issue here is not to go back but to go forward. I really hope the coalition government doesn’t spend time just repealing what the last government did, there really is so much more to do, including the Equality Act 2010 which I hope does not fall off the agenda whilst we are looking at what was wrong before.

  16. Alan Johnson
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Sourced from DirectGov – The weekly maximum working hours
    "Adult workers cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours a week on average – this is normally averaged over 17 weeks. You can work more than 48 hours in one week, as long as the average over 17 weeks is less than 48 hours per week. ……(Exclusions applied)
    Opting out of the 48 hour week
    If you are 18 or over and wish to work more than 48 hours a week, you can choose to opt out of the 48 hour limit. This must be voluntary and in writing.
    It can't be an agreement with the whole workforce."
    If you're in a unionised private or public sector, it will be the Union which negotiates your right to overtime whatever the legislations says.
    Workers have the right to withdraw their "opt out" giving 7 days notice.
    It's all a production controll nightmare which has had a very detrimental effect on manufacturing industry in particular.

  17. Bernard JUBY
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    1) Radically revise the nonsenses of the European Arrest Warrant which allows a person to be tried in absentia and without being informed and in one case convicted by a Greek court for a murder committed in Greece when the person involved had never left these shores! and
    2) Cut out the bureaucratic paper churning of VAT (one of the prices we have to pay to be in the EU) which is really a glorified sales tax (much simpler) since the only time that any Government collects AND KEEPS the money is when a non-registered trader buys from a registered trader. Every time registered traders buy and sell to each other they claim back the VAT element and the Treasury end up with a net yield of NIL!

  18. Ross J Warren
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Look again at the public house smoking ban, after all we need to encourage jobs not destroy even more of them. There are literally thousands of mothballed pubs that could be contributing to employment and tax.

    PS

    I'm a non-smoking teetotaler , so I have no personal axe to grind.

  19. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    28 Repeal the Lisbon "Treaty"
    29 Repeal the right of free psychiatric care to people who advocate selling eggs by weight

  20. BigJohn
    Posted July 4, 2010 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    Just thought of another thing that needs to be sorted out.

    Can we have a law that stops the government being influenced by religion.

    In the words of "Dara o'Brien" :-

    "Just because we don't understand things about life and the universe, that doesn't mean we have to make it up, and fill in the gaps with fairy tails".

    The problem is we get people like GB making decisions based on religious convictions, and it is not in the best interest of the country.

    He was brainwashed/programed into thinking he was doing the right thing, and throwing away our money on things like :-

    Creating laws, for removing child poverty, which is based on some kind of statistical level that requires most people with no kids to work as slaves for people with kids.

    Creating laws, that give away a percentage of our wealth, to prop up dictatorships in poor countrys.

    And creating laws, to destroy this country with this CO2 rubbish, because he think he is saving the planet.

    I still can't work out how he got to position he was in, but now there must be a way of reversing all this bullshit.

    • Eeyore
      Posted July 6, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      Fairies have tails???

      Whatever next!

  21. John Crill
    Posted July 5, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I agree with almost everything – but not with maintaining the medieval avoirdupoids system of weights and measures. Try calculating a gas turbine or a bridge structure in first in metric then in inches, ft, lbs, poundals, slugs and all the other complicated Olde English measurements – metric wins hands down. Metric is miles (kilometers?) easier to understand and use – and I'm 65. The UK is a mishmash of mixed regulations – copper pipes in houses 5/8 and 7/8" (yeah, 15mm and 22 mm, my hat!)) whereas plastic pipes are almost all metric. Fuel is sold in litres but cars drive miles. How many miles to the litre does your car do? – even Ireland is all metric. Heating in the UK is all sold in BTUs but in all of Europe (and electric fires and kettles in the UK) is sold in Kilowatts. Insulation for houses is calculated in Kw, so how many BTUs of heating do you need for your house? The UK is absolute chaos. I learned the metric system when I was at school over 50 years ago and I presume that every single child since then has done likewise. There must be fewer and fewer people who even understand the foot-lb-s system. How about dumping these complicated and obsolete measurements here and now? They're holding back British competitiveness.

  22. Charles
    Posted July 6, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Abolish the ludicrous and institutionally leftist 'Office of the Children's Commissioner which recently rebranded itself, at the taxpayers' expense, as 11,000,000 because, guess what, there are 11million children in Britain. Its sole purpose is to promote, via the intellectually vacuous and bankrupt notion that children have interests wholly separate from adults', the substitution of the state for families and communities as the main agents of children's upbringing and socialisation.

  23. rose
    Posted July 12, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Under no 21 I should like to see an immediate end to the compulsory electronic noise on backing vans and lorries; also the loud recorded messages. For anyone living near a cul de sac it is torture, and very little sleep can be got. I am also extremely worried that the EU will inflict this on us even with vehicles going forwards when electric cars come in, as "they are too quiet…"

  24. CouncillorB
    Posted July 16, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    We need to change the housing Act 2004 (HMO bits) and as amended in 2006/7 in respect to HMOs. The whole topic was badly framed and not needed. Like so many local authority inspired laws it takes an exisitng set of laws and makes the whole thing intrusive and cumbersom. There so many situations where HMOs come into existence depending on whether a renter is using a room as their "main" residence – perhaps they are simply working away from home! Section 257 blocks are HMOs if an owners suddenly decides to move away and rent out their flat. Much depends on the status of people – living together or just friends to be defined as separate households. It all costs LHA/EHOs money to chase and enforce and why? People dont't like HMOs because some cause problems but there are other ways to deal with poor landlords (there are poor landlords letting non-HMOs too!) and poor tenants. Licenced HMOs can still cause problems – it does not answer the problem of bad tenants. We do need bedsits – let us build new purpose built bedsit blocks – they could be very cost effective for letting and could be designed and located to minimise disturbance to neighbours.

  25. Puffer
    Posted September 28, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    OK, I'm a pub-going smoker – interest declared. The inrush of non-smokers to pubs previously out-of-bounds due to smoking has failed to materialise; instead, more people drink and smoke at home. This has negative consequences for pubs, children, and those gossamer social webs which take so long to create, and so little to destroy. This helps atomise further our society, in addition to the resentment built by the imposition of a law by metropolitan non-smokers – for example, no smoking on open-air train platform has, I suspect, more to do with saving money otherwise spent on cleaning. Who has the right to tell me not to indulge in a legal activity in the open air for chrissakes? Get real, get rid!

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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