Deregulation

 

           We have discussed before the current slow progress with the government’s One In, One Out approach to domestic rules. We have noted that EU regulaitonm is not included within this programme, and that continues to expand.

            The arrival of Michael Fallon as Minister of State at the Department of Business is a good opportunity to review it all again. I am sure he wishes to beef up the programme. What obstacles will he face?

             He inherits the ambitious Red Tape Challenge system. 6500 domestic regulations are being exposed to criticism and comment, linking them around major industry groups and taking those in turn. The aim is to “abolish or reduce 3000 regulations” out of this tally.  The review will be completed by December 2013.

              We are not told what the split might be between scrapping and reducing, an important issue. Nor are we told if the ones to be scrapped are in effect being replaced by new EU ones anyway.

               Some of the ones to be scrapped apparently impose no costs on business, demonstrating that they are obsolete. I have no problem with them being swept away, but if they impose no cost their removal brings little benefit, other than a tidier and simpler list.

                  Some of the ones to be scrapped will be replaced by  a single consolidated regulation. Again I have no problems with doing this, but it is unlikely to cut the burden by much.

                 What is needed is the reduction or removal of regulations that are costly, where their costs do not bring sufficient benefit to justify the financial demands they impose. So far we have been told they will remove the need for  a paper driving licence, just requiring the plastic card; remove employer liability for any misconduct by customers under the Equality Act; lessen the costs and compliance needs with Employment  Tribunals saving £40 m a year; and deregulate some live music performances.

                 What I fear the civil service have decided is to surrender gradually some UK domestic regulations, safe in the knowledge that bigger and better ones now apply from the EU anyway. Given the huge range and scope of EU regulation, and the inability or unwillingness  of most UK governments to do anything about this, it is difficult to see that we need much domestic regulation any more. There are not many things the EU has not thought of controlling.

                           The role of the EU in governing us makes Mr Fallon’s task especially difficult. I wish him well with abolishing more of the old domestic requirements, but the big cost is increasingly to be found from Brussels. As we noted yesterday, if the UK abolished its own domestic  financial regulation, there would still be a comprehensive EU system in place.

                         Total regulatory costs may be around £100 billion a year in this economy. Achieving savings of a few hundred millions of pounds, whilst welcome, makes little difference.  The challenge is to find significant savings without leaving  areas without protection where regulation can help.

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166 Comments

  1. Paul Danon
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Deregulation will itself be bureaucratic and take for ever. Also, we’re helpless against the EU until we leave it. By contrast, tax-cuts can be implemented overnight and will have a near-immediate effect on growth.

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 16, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Indeed get the money to individual and the private sector and get some competition in and lending going in banking if growth is wanted. Deregulation cost a fortune too but it is longer term.

      Just the, over the top, tree protection orders have cost me a fortune over the years as yet another example.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps not strictly a regulation but the absurd and arbitrary divorce laws – which can end up with wealth being divided 25% to each party and 50% to the two lawyers is another huge cost for many. This due to poor rules and lack or clarity. Rules clearly ideal to enrich lawyers rather then provide a fair settlement to the parties.

    • Disaffected
      Posted September 16, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      RBS FORCED TO SELL its insurance business by EU regulators because it received a £45 billion bail out from the UK government. British taxpayers bail out the bank and the EU states what will happen!! Says it all really.

      None of the unelected EU business to tell any British business or government what to do in our own country with our own taxpayers’ funds.

      • Disaffected
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        EU not likely to act in the UK national interest- where are you Cameron when we need a leader in politics to lead Britain!

      • uanime5
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

        Given that the UK agreed to the EU law and implemented it you can’t really blame the EU for demanding that the UK follow the law.

  2. Leslie Singleton
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    The EU might, just might, have made some small, repeat small, sense if it had paid attention only to macro issues but instead, for reasons that are very obscure, it has insidiously and unnecessarily inveigled itself in to just about everything at huge cost and a lot of people hate the wretched thing. We should unilaterally decide, giving notice, of what we intend to do to abrogate our way out of this mess then do it. The EU could always leave (continent isolated and all that) if they don’t like it. I sometimes wonder if it is the prospect of the negotiations per se that puts our present-day weak-kneed ministers off, but as I say the answer to that is to have no negotiations at least as regards the more ridiculous baloney the EU has spewed forth.

    • Jerry
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Indeed, I never understand when politicians complain that we need to ‘have negotiations’ with the EU, why not just do what we want and then negotiate if the fan really does start to get messy – just as many other EU members do. What can the EU do; fine the UK, we simply don’t pay; stop trading with us, they get in a fight with the WTO; kick us out of their “club”, bring it on mate!…

      • Timaction
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        Absolutely right. With a annual trade deficit of £50 billion with the EU we simply don’t need to be paying £11 billion for the privilege as well as the administative burden of another £ 9 billion to implement its laws and directives. Only our leading politicians can see benefits of the EU, the rest of us live in the real world and want our Country back and our borders secured. Stop paying foreign people benefits and providing health, housing and education for nothing.

        • zorro
          Posted September 15, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

          More robust enforcement of rules already in force would cut down on those costs, and along with the other items would certainly assist eith budget deficit reduction.

          zorro

      • APL
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Jerry: “I never understand when politicians complain that we need to ‘have negotiations’ with the EU, ”

        One of the arch proponents of ‘renegotiation’ with the EU is right here, let’s see if he would like to address the question.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        You have not quite got the idea.
        At the very start of the European project, one of the very first things to happen was that the Coreper bureaucrats in Brussels linked up with the very enthusiastic Europhile civil service and they agreed to bypass parliament with the statutory instrument.
        This means that the Directives and Regulations of the vast EU bureaucracy go straight into British government instructions. The vast swathe of directives (10,500 pages for banking alone, egged on by the large banks to eliminate the smaller ones, as Dan Hannan points out today) is mind boggling.
        The all powerful EU/British civil service is in total control of almost everything and it likes that. Have you read the Spectator this week about checking emails, google searches and mobile phones? It ends with a quote from 1984 – quite justly actually.
        I see this as cancer, invisible, deadly and debilitating. It will eventually cause the death of this country, of course, too.
        Our host is alive to this but, out of loyalty, he is giving the government a chance to do something.

        • zorro
          Posted September 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

          He is, he does, but they won’t…..

          zorro

        • APL
          Posted September 15, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

          Mike Stallard: “I see this as cancer, invisible, deadly and debilitating. It will eventually cause the death of this country, of course, too.”

          Quote Marcus Tullius Cicero.

          Mike Stallard: “Our host is alive to this but, out of loyalty, he is giving the government a chance to do something.”

          Yea well, perhaps he thinks he is being loyal to the Conservative party, but the Conservative party is now the party of Kenneth Clarke, who while no longer holding a portfolio in government now is free to range at large interfering anywhere he wishes, at the tax payers expense.

          The true Conservative party is dead, the corpse was briefly reinvigorated by Thatcher, but we know what happened to her! The party has reverted to the Trojan horse it has been ever since the last War.

        • Steven_L
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 12:28 am | Permalink

          In some areas of law (food and agriculture for a start) the EU have got fed up with national governments not implementing directives as envisaged, they just go for EU regulations now, which have ‘direct effect’..

          • Jerry
            Posted September 16, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

            You mean like the ‘Egg directive’? You know that directive that was meant to improve the welfare of caged chickens,of course the British farmer compiles on time but those further east don’t…

  3. lifelogic
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    You suggest “Total regulatory costs may be around £100 billion a year in this economy” this is about 4% of GDP I have no doubt what so every it is far far higher than this.

    In my work about 30% of my time and my staffs time is spend doing or complying with things that are largely pointless but needed just due to regulations. The “allegedly” green over the top building regulations, hip packs (now thankfully nearly gone), landlord safety certificates, energy certificates, often absurd costly planning restrictions and conditions, the absurdly complex tax systems with VAT, NI, income tax and PAYE to administer, the insane employment laws and regulations preventing you from firing the useless, the costs of collecting and accounting for all these taxes, the new forced pensions coming shortly, the nonsense windmills and pv …………..

    I may not be typical but it must be far nearer 15% of GDP than 4% surely?

    • Disaffected
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      John Major has already started his pro European lobby in his post in the DT today. What a distorted view of the world. He is very selective in fact but high on rhetoric to convince the EU is the way forward. I remember the pain of his fatal ERM experiment as do many other businesses and home owners for his political European dream. It is not in the UK interest to become a region in a fanciful pan European state. The man is deluded as are many civil servants who direct ministers what to do. As JR pointed out yesterday Eu regulation is contained in most regulatory bodies work, designed I suggest so it is integrated by stealth so we will not notice.

      The EU is costing us a fortune and we need to be out of it ASAP. Trade with it , yes, be part of it, NO.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        You say Major is deluded but is he deluded or far worse perhaps he knows but is simply just acting as a salesman for the EU like the BBC. In Major’s case perhaps he is indeed really that dim.

        Anyway he buried the real Tories for three and a half terms so far with his ERM fiasco (no apology for all the suicides, job losses, lost homes and broken lives caused) and Cameron looks likely do a similar repeat job for the next two terms.

        By which time Westminster will clearly be irrelevant – if it is not already.

        • Disaffected
          Posted September 15, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

          First, in my view Major’s actions were far worse than anything Sir Fred did. Millions lost their life in fighting to defend the UK’s sovereignty, independence and freedom from a tyrannical thereat inside Europe which he and other politicians were/are prepared to give up for nothing and against the populations wishes.

          Major should be stripped of his title, pension and former PM’s allowance. Many people suffered because of his (and Lamont’s) stupidity and fanatical political dream. As you say Lifelogic, homes, business, jobs and billions of taxpayers’ money lost without a any form of apology. Both appear to forget the reality for most of us and have rose tinted glasses about the events and subsequent Maastricht Treaty. Cameron was there as an advisor and I think we all know that he is following in the same Europhile direction as his previous supervisors, this time with Major being the advisor.

          There is no justification for all the points JR makes in this and previous blogs relating to the EU. Lord Tebbit also passes comment in the DT today. However, the ONLY, yes the ONLY way to stop the current course is for everyone to vote UKIP. Tories, Labour and Lib Dems are the same and in effect will be a conduit for EU law and regulation for the UK region of the EU. Cameron knows this was the case when he made the veto that never was. His ploy was to calm the emotions of Tories MPs and they stupidly fell for it. In this sense he has learned from Major’s mistakes to keep Eurosceptics on side. Note: no Eurosceptic promoted to cabinet in the reshuffle.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 16, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink

            @Disaffected: All that you say might well be true about Major but surely the same can be said about both Heath and (shock horror) Lady Thatcher, Heath took us into the EEC, Thatcher signed and ratified the Single European Act – a fore runner to the Maastricht Treaty. We all remember Thatcher and her “No! No! No!” comments at the dispatch box but many forget her own active involvement in the birth of the EC/EU.

            As for UKIP, watching the spectacle that was J.M.Barroso and his “State of the Union” monologue the other day (or more to the point, the various group leaders speeches in reply) I couldn’t help feeling somewhat down hearted, even Mr Farage had a sense of resignation in his voice, the next five to seven years is going to be the make or break point. My point, now is not the time for the right to do what the (far-)left did in the early 1980s, push that “Brighton or bust” button. Surely it is better to have a eurosceptic Tory party in power (even if all they can do is opt-out, rather than veto the worst excesses of the EU) than have them in opposition due to a diluted vote that a vote for UKIP will no doubt about it cause? Another five years of a Labour (or Lab/LibDem coalition) government will mean only one thing, even closer EU integration if not outright and possibly irreversible assimilation…

          • Bob
            Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

            @Disaffected
            Lib Lab Con are all playing on the same side.

            UKIP are the opposition.

        • zorro
          Posted September 15, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

          Cameron for two terms? Do you really think so?

          zorro

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 16, 2012 at 6:55 am | Permalink

            I mean Cameron will bury the real Tories for another two terms at least as Major did for 3+ (the socialist coalition) terms.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        In his article Major continues with the Tory deceit of referring to the eurozone as an “inner core” of the EU, ignoring the fact that as the EU treaties stand

        THE EUROZONE IS DESTINED TO BECOME THE WHOLE OF THE EU

        apart from at most two of the member states, the UK and Denmark, which have treaty opt-outs from ever having to join the euro.

        When the EU has been further enlarged to maybe 40 member states, as leading Tories want, and the UK is still in the EU, as leading Tories want, but the UK is heading towards being the only member state of the EU that has still not adopted its currency, then the eurofederalists will increasingly crank up the pressure by arguing that this “isolated” position is no longer tenable and the only “sensible” choice is to join the euro, as leading Tories want.

        • zorro
          Posted September 15, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

          Exactly… as some of us have been saying for quite a while….

          zorro

    • lifelogic
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      As examples of the huge costs of regulation look at the absurd subsidies for PV and wind, the encouragement irrational encouragement of hybrid and electric cars and daft train schemes – for no good scientific (or environmental) reasons.

      Countless separate companies, trusts, endless pension funds rules, isas, tessas, baby bonds are formed and run mainly due to the absurdities of the tax system etc. and VAT thresholds. Countless people are pointlessly employed dealing with the absurdly complex tax systems on both sides of the battle.

      Countless people are employed in the no win not fee racket – we will not get richer as a nation just suing each other over everything.

      Countless people are not offered jobs due to the legal complication of firing them and many companies work inefficiently due to the legal complication of firing them.

      The list of absurdities is almost endless. The costs it must be at least 15% of GDP perhaps even 30% – just look at the cost of running a pay role system and soon with pensions forced on too. Absurd rules in every direction.

      Perhaps they most depressing think about the UK at the moment is how so many people, with even a slight helping of intelligence, wants to be lawyer. What a waste.

  4. Pete the Bike
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Regulation rarely helps business unless it is a very large company and the regulation gives it protection from smaller more efficient rivals. The banking industry for instance is almost totally barred to small start up banks. Have those regulations prevented banks ruining the economy or helped them do it?
    Most regulation stifles innovation, increases costs, discourages employment and distorts free markets.
    People are deluded into thinking that regulations make us safer, ridiculous. The car industry is loaded with safety rules that do not always improve the car. If those rules were swept away does anyone believe that manufacturers would start selling unsafe cars? How long would they be in business? Honda recently had to do major safety recalls to some of it’s cars and it’s share price plummeted. Years ago Lancia sold cars that rusted overnight and they had to withdraw from the UK market for decades.
    If a serious deregulation effort was made I suspect that we could quite easily live without 6450 of the 6500 regulations mentioned.

    • Bazman
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Historically car manufactures have fought any safety regulations tooth and nail. Take a look at ‘Unsafe at any speed’ by Ralph Nader and Chinese crash testing. You are dreaming if you think these cars should be allowed on European roads and anyone should have a choice in choosing to drive them. More silly free market fantasy.

      • Jerry
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        @Bazman: If you think regulation means a safe motor vehicle then you are sadly mistaken. On the other hand, as Ford in the USA found (Google “Ford” +USA +fuel +tank +fires), law suits focus the designers mind fare more than meeting the latest safety standard/regulation does.

        • uanime5
          Posted September 17, 2012 at 12:00 am | Permalink

          The problem with lawsuits is that they become a cost-benefit analysis. So if a company feels that it will be cheaper to let their cars explode into flames and be sued than to recall these cars they won’t recall the defective cars.

          Reply: Many people who are car executives would wish to produce safe cars just as you want them to. Some wish to do this because they are decent people. Some wish to do this because the reputational damage to them and their company is high if they sell unsafe cars. Some realise it could be their wife or mother driving the unsafe car. Do try to avoid a perpetual anti private sector rant.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 17, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

            A total recall is the nightmare of car manufactures. I worked in a factory that built car subframes for a number of years and lets say they sailed close to the wing on one particular popular model, but the design was fiendishly clever and no problems have been reported. The car manufacture was compliment in the lack of quality for sure. Cost and world demand pressurised them. Legal enough for you John?
            Car safety is driven by an independent organisation funded by the manufactures. Still think Would it be better to allow manufactures to do what they like and to allow Chinese cars on European roads?

      • Richard
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        Bazman,
        Wrong again as usual, Volvo, Saab and Mercedes to give you just 3 examples, invested millions and introduced many safety features into their cars well before they became forced to by legislation, simply because they felt that they would be popular with their customers as a selling point and they were right.
        eg Seat belts, ABS brakes, airbags etc etc.

        • Bazman
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

          Just like in China. Would you buy one of these Chinese cars? Of course you would. you’re are a careful driver.

      • Steven_L
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 12:32 am | Permalink

        Old cars are allowed on the road, tax free as it happens.

      • lifelogic
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 7:04 am | Permalink

        Bikes used in London are 30 times more dangerous than cars per mile travelled. But the government want to encourage bikes we even have the Boris bike (Vote Boris adverts). Yet car safety regulation is hugely over the top.

        No only that but bikes have little carbon advantage when all the food (fuel) production, distribution and preparation is taken into account compared to fairly full cars.

        • uanime5
          Posted September 17, 2012 at 12:04 am | Permalink

          Maybe in the world of right wing fantasy bikes produce more CO2 than full cars but in the real world bikes produce only a fraction of the CO2 produced by cars.

          Also if you’re going to include the “food (fuel) production, distribution and preparation” for bikes you should also include the CO2 produced from the fuel (oil drilling and refinement), production, and distribution of cars. I suspect you didn’t because this would be vastly higher for cars than for bikes.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

            Of course all this assumes that there is actually a problem with CO2 in the first place, we only have some leftish scientists, the media and others jumping on the band-wagon and wishing to secure funding for CO2 research ‘word’ for such a problem…

          • Bazman
            Posted September 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

            His fantasy also extends to riding a heavy push bike on flat ground requires no more pedal power than a light one. I wonder if he has ever tested this theory on himself?

          • Jerry
            Posted September 18, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

            Why is it that those who push the “Green” agenda always end up resorting to insults and ‘belittlement’ when ever their assumptions are questioned?

          • Bazman
            Posted September 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

            When faced with free market fantasists and anti green quackery such as life logics pointless and absurd belief in a race to the bottom that does not apply to himself, accept when it does. It’s open season.

  5. Derek Emery
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Are there any people focused enough to tackle the problem rationally. If so where are they hiding? The coaliton has been in power for two years and what has it done on this front? In the private sector any top team that had been there for two years with little to show for it would be out the door.
    The private sector approach would be to make a list of changes which would make the biggest savings and tackle these first i.e the top down approach. Bureaucrats who are taking the bottom up approach of removing obsolete or unimportant regulations that have little or no savings are no use and should be rewarded by demotion.

  6. Bazman
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The idea that attacking workers already paper thin rights to drive down wages and allowing anyone to build and extension for a limited period of time shows limited thinking. How long before the reduction in health & safety is applied to building sites and shipyards, or to make it more real to all you desk jockeys, restaurants and takeaways, which are of course self regulating? Any failure of cleanliness would just make them go out of business and in this highly competitive market another much cleaner one take it’s place. A regulation free takeaway where the employee can be sacked and has no health & safety rights or be able to seek compensation for anything? You can eat there if you like and I hope you do. It would not work like that? Why ever not?

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      “Any failure of cleanliness would just make them go out of business and in this highly competitive market another much cleaner one take it’s place.”

      After a night out on a 10-pint-bender it’s always the ‘dodgy’ kebab that gets the blame for any subsequent illness.

      Regardless of the weekly allegations of poor cleanliness at such establishments people keep going back to them.

      I don’t think that British people are particular about what they eat so long as it’s cheap, tasty and there’s plenty of it.

    • Bob
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      ~ A lorry driver told me yesterday that when he gets stuck in long motorway jams he sometimes has to pull onto the hard shoulder and switch off his tachograph to comply with working hours regulations, but doing so is not allowed by law!
      Do the rules conflict in this case?

      ~ Would you pull into a yellow box junction to allow an emergency vehicle to pass if you didn’t have a clear exit?

      ~ Government are considering an increase in the national speed limit, but the setting of speed limits on minor roads appears to have little to do with safety and more to do with maximising speeding fines. There should be a complete rethink of the way road safety is enforced, and automatic speed limits should be revised to take account of advances in vehicle braking efficiency, since the Ford Prefect, and maybe should also take account of weather conditions.

      ~ Automatic cameras do not capture the circumstances where a large vehicle pulls into a yellow box junction with a clear exit and then a car pulls across and blocks his exit after the truck has driven into the box. On the whole, automatic camera evidence should be treated a great deal of suspicion, if there are no human witnesses to verify the offence.

      ~ I was driving in slow moving traffic in Leyton behind a car that had no tyre on the o/s/r wheel. The noise it made had to be heard to be believed. No less than 4 police vehicles drove past the vehicle looked at it and continued on their way without any intervention whatsoever.

      Why do you think they would ignore such a obvious breach of road safety?

      ~ I’ve been carrying a photo-card and accompanying sheet of paper bulking up my wallet for fifteen years. That it has lasted so long is a clear sign of DVLA / public sector ineptitude.

      The above is just a sample of official nonsense relating to motoring, I could go on to other areas of life, but there is little point because little will actually change for the better, one stupid rule will just replace another ad infinitum – it’s what bureaucrats do; the solution is to reduce the number of bureaucrats, that would be a positive step forward but will not happen until we have a thorough clear out of the pro EU career politicians currently infesting Westminster.

      • Bazman
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        You just think there should be a race to the bottom.
        Legally he is well within his rights to carry on until a safe place to stop is avalible. This would be noted on the print out or the disc on the tacho. A more likely explanation is that he is under pressure from his employer for ‘overrun’ and trying to hide this fact. They are not used on large vans and some vans are 5 tonnes plus wait until they are on these and see delivery costs rise. A lot of accidents involve idiot van drivers, so have think. Automatic cameras often have more than one camera at another angle. One of the guys at my company got a fine this week for stopping on double red lines in London and I saw this.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

          No Bazman, what he thinks is that people should take responsibility (for their own actions), you are the one wanting to hide behind someone else (via H&S regs etc) when and if anything goes wrong.

          Oh and Bazman anything over 5t needs a tacho, unless the type of use is exempt, but even then they might actually still be subject to the driving hours regs but the driver need to keep written records.

          As for fixed cameras, I stopped once on double red lines, warden knocked on my window and asked why I was stopped, satisfied with the legitimate reason given she walked on nothing more happened, the same would not (can not) happen with cameras other than for a whole new bureaucracy of desk pushers sending out fines and processing the returned fines or “Pleased to explain why the fine is invalid” forms.

        • a-tracy
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

          Anything over 3.5T falls within the RTD and needs recording equipment installed so which 5T vehicles do you mean?

          Some tacho drivers want to park up to save their hours until the traffic jam is over in order to get home and not use their sleeper cab or have to find accommodation.

          I dont understand your point about the red route?

      • Simon George
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

        Some 49% of road deaths in 2010 in the UK took place on single carriageway rural roads with a 60mph speed limit. Under the plans, which are open to public consultation, a reduction to 40mph should also be considered where there is “substantial development” or where there are “a considerable number” of horse-riders, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Plans to reduce speed limits from 60 to 40 mph are for safety reasons and nothing to do with revenue raising.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

          Simon, if these limits are for safety then they would already exist? Sorry but (the need for) road safety didn’t start with the invention of the speed camera…

        • Mark
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

          The idea that reducing speed limits is the only way to improve safety on these roads is absurd. In some cases what is really needed is re-engineering. In many others, modern radar activated signs could help warn of specific hazards – and be far more effective because they are only activated when the hazard is present.

          I encountered just such signage on the A508 from Northampton to Market Harborough: signs that were activated by the existence of traffic in a side turning.

          It is recognised that many accidents on rural roads are caused by city based drivers not appreciating the hazards. This is perhaps something that should be addressed in driving lessons and tests. Courtesy in dipping headlights also helps.

        • Alan Wheatley
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

          If you read the DoT’s own documents it is obvious they have not got a clue about safety issues. What comes across is an agenda to lower speed limits and to find any excuse they can to justify it, usually the good old standby “safety”.

          • lifelogic
            Posted September 17, 2012 at 2:02 am | Permalink

            Indeed health and safety is usually just a ruse to justify anything they want.

    • Jerry
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Bazman, regulations often keep wages lower because of the costs to regulation to a employer, as for H&S, regulation doesn’t stop accidents and deaths because most are either caused by accidents or stupidity, H&S can even bread the latter because people believe their safety is someone else’s responsibility – the HSE had to accepted this as a fact in their last full-scale review a few years back.

      You mention, as an example, eating in the work place. Why does someone need to be told that it would be stupid, if not suicidal, to eat in a hazardous area or situation (such as not washing your hands first), if you don’t know what you are working with then you need to find out via the COSHH regulations [1] or what ever, or even just find some common sense regardless of any wish to eat your sandwiches. In almost any industry or trade, risk can’t be eliminated, thus it is better that workers get to know and work with these risks rather than leave (by definition) a hidden hazard.

      [1] as much as COSHH is hated by some employers I think that it has been a help as it puts the onus on the employee working with the substance as much as anyone else

      • Bazman
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        Regulations often keep wages lower because of the costs to regulation to a employer? In your dreams and many hazards are associated over long periods of time for example vibration, fume, chemical and exposure to UV rays from welding. Many companies are reluctant to spend money on protection of the employee or just do the bare bones to cover themselves legally. If I had compiled with my past employers requests as to cheaper PPE (personal protective equipment) and less of it. They would not spend the money on extraction equipment that’s for sure. I would be a very unhealthy boy and in many cases where the worker is not as shitty as me the NHS will be picking up the tab at some point in the future. Another subsidy and the fault of the worker? Ram it.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          Bazman, you are responsible for your own and your fellow workers safety, that is the first H&S regulation and the only one really needed now we have COSHH, if you can’t be bothered to find out what you are working with then that is no one else’s fault than your own, and it is you alone who should face prosecution should someone be injured or die as a result – stop trying to hide your own failings behind your employer!

          Oh and how about buying your own PPE if push comes to shove, but even if there needs to be a regulation to make employers provide (COSHH approved) PPE that makes for only two H&S regs… What I’m saying is that regulations need to be kept to a minimum, not KISS, just small in number.

          Bazman, you seem to fail to understand that many people who contest your views have had similar (and I dare say, maybe greater) industrial/trade working experiences to your own, it is just that we differ in our outlook, for example I have never needed to be told (beyond the first year metal working class at secondary school) that rotating shafts are dangerous, that arc welding requires protective clothing, that a hot surface is err hot, that working in a dirty, oily or greasy environment require suitable overalls etc.

          • uanime5
            Posted September 17, 2012 at 12:09 am | Permalink

            No the employer is legally responsible for ensuring that their workplace isn’t dangerous for their employees. Quit trying to blame the employees for accidents caused by the employer not providing adequate training or equipment.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

            Exactly my point “uanime5”, the employer get the blame for when the employee messes up!

          • Bazman
            Posted September 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

            But my own PPE? Why don’t I provide my own materials and equipment as well. Ok I will. I will be self employed and they will be sent an invoice for all of these things. How do you contest my views? That there should be no regulations and all safety is just common sense and the employer should not be held responsible for the working environment of his employees? Another right wing regressive fantasy taking us back to the 19th century mills and modern day working conditions for million in India and China. Anyone complaining of the working condition should be sacked as it is their fault?
            You are a simpleton.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 18, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

            Bazman the fact that you don’t seem able to enter in to any meaningful debate without using insults suggest that it is not others who are the “simpletons”

      • uanime5
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

        Interesting how the cost of regulations never seems to lower the salaries of senior executives only those at the bottom of the corporate ladder.

        H&S, regulation doesn’t stop accidents and deaths because most are either caused by accidents or stupidity

        So H&S doesn’t stop accidents because accidents are caused by accidents. What sort of nonsense is this?

        Anyway the purpose of H&S is to reduce accidents and the severity of accidents, something it does very well when the regulations are actually followed.

        Finally if the employer doesn’t tell the employee the main hazards in the workplace how is the employee going to know about them. Making employers responsible for employee safety forces them to tale measures to safeguard their employees.

        • Bob
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

          @uanime5
          “…the cost of regulations never seems to lower the salaries of senior executives…”

          If it places more responsibility on the senior executives and and less on the “bottom end”, then who do you think deserves the additional remuneration?

          • Bazman
            Posted September 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

            The responsibility ultimately is in the hands of the person doing the work. How many senior executives have been to prison for negligence. I’ll tell you, None. Fat pay off instead.
            I missed Jerry’s nonsense that accidents are just caused by accidents. Accidents do not just happen they are caused. Did you never learn that as a child?

          • Jerry
            Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

            Bazman, go and look up the definition of the word “accident” and now tell me how they can be foreseen – if they were then by definition they would not be an “accident”, but a foreseeable and thus deliberate (and avoidable) act. Duh!

          • Bazman
            Posted September 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

            Hmm! Looking up the word accident in a dictionary? Says a lot. Most accidents could have been foreseen had some planning and investigation had taken place. Slipping on oil. Easy to do for anyone. Accident or foreseen? Lifting equipment failing. Accident or foreseen? And so on. You know the correct answers. Very few occurrences are acts of God as you claim and can be in most cases easily foreseen, by planning, engineering, training and vigilance. Failure of this by an organisation of this means negligence and saying it was just an ‘accident’ is for schoolboys and the birds.
            Is everything pre ordained Jerry? The movement of my fingers typing this post? If it is you need to see a doctor.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          So H&S doesn’t stop accidents because accidents are caused by accidents. What sort of nonsense is this?

          The same “nonsense” that are ‘known, knowns, known unknowns, unknown unknowns, known unknowns’ – I guess you didn’t understand Mr Rumsfeld either… An accident is an accident, no one went out with the intent of doing someone or something harm, hence the defence of manslaughter instead of murder, accidental damage instead of criminal damage.

          Finally if the employer doesn’t tell the employee the main hazards in the workplace how is the employee going to know about them.

          You seem unaware of the COSHH regulations, for hazards that are outside of COSHH then what is wrong with self education (with union help perhaps), common sense, you might have had a point at one time but in this age of the internet there is really little excuse for someone not making themselves aware of the products and hazards they deal with…

          • Bazman
            Posted September 16, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

            Many workers are uneducated and the middle class social security system is against them in the form of nitwit managers pressurising them to do the work whilst driving their desks. You are quoting Rumsfeld in the case of accidents? You have obviously never worked on a site or in a shipyard. Stabbing yourself when sharpening a pencil is not normally dangerous so I am not sympathetic to your cause… Ram it. Very far.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

            Bazman, I have worked in some very dangerous places, most of my working life has been at the sharp end and not behind a desk, I have almost killed myself a couple of times to (due to my own stupidity), I have also nearly been killed by others stupidity but in all those cases had I been killed it would have been an accident as the cause of my death would have been an unforeseen even – do you really think I would knowingly put myself in harms way on purpose, perhaps you do, it would explain a lot…!

            Only a fool thinks that all risk can be avoided, unfortunately the H&S rules are breading generations of fools. For these people, unless told otherwise there is now no risk, unless there is a board saying “Trip Hazard” these people can’t see the trip hazard [1], unless there is a notice saying “High Voltage” there is no danger even though the the are ruddy great cables and the metalwork (transformer) is humming etc. etc. People are not seeing risk for themselves any more.:(

            [1] some might but choose not to see, preferring to act the innocent and then claiming via claims management company for some ‘free’ money (so forcing up theirs, yours and my insurance premiums)

          • Bazman
            Posted September 17, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

            If you have ever tripped over on a unmarked trip hazard or banged your head on an unmarked low door in a shipyard you would not be so blasé. A well known burger chain in Russia sort of amused my by having a tiny step in the entrance that everyone tripped over. I mean everyone including myself more than once. Just stupid and would never happen in the UK. Why is that?
            Basically what you are saying is that nothing is idiot proof and safety cannot be legislated for. Who can deny this, but your foolish do nothing regressive attitude to H&S including no control over hazardous substances is not going to help anyone. Have you ever seen a group of sixteen year olds introduced to shipyard grinding and cutting equipment. Common sense is very uncommon in this group. Oxygen+Acetylene+Compressed air+arc welding +Teenage boys =potential disaster for all.
            Ever walked on scaffolding not tied down? Very scary. ‘accident’? Ram it.

            Reply: When I have been involved with industrial businesses in the past they have always been very safety conscious. Designing out risk to em loyees was a crucial part of our saefty programmes,along with full evaluation of any safety incident if one did occur with a view to further improvement in the environment. No sensible busienss wants to see its employees injured.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

            I would agree John with your comments. However within business there is individual managers determined to make safety a paper exercise and put pressure on employees to cut corners and not ask for addequete and correct PPE to reduce their budgets. Putting the blame for loosing control of the budget upon the workforce. They hand out expensive PPE equipment at silly costs without controlling how much and how it is used. With anyone insisting on this to protect their health as somehow guilty of causing this. They are not doing their jobs and blaming it on someone else.
            In other cases they play the ball both ways insisting on PPE being used and then belittling anyone who asks for it.
            Only talk it cos’ I live it.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

            @Bazman: ““If you have ever tripped over on a unmarked trip hazard or banged your head on an unmarked low door in a shipyard you would not be so blasé. [../cut/..] Common sense is very uncommon in this group. Oxygen+Acetylene+Compressed air+arc welding +Teenage boys =potential disaster for all.

            But Bazman, that is the point, I have done both those things (well not a door, nor in a ship yard but other fixed steelwork that has a similar effect) plus many other silly incidents and ‘accidents’, but I did so because either I didn’t notice the hazard or because I wasn’t paying proper attention, afterwards I didn’t go about blaming my co-workers, the management or a random passer-by, I picked myself up, dusted myself off and -if appropriate- cleared up or otherwise made the hazard safe.

            Oh and neither have I said anything about not allowing people to identify hazardous hazardous substances, hence my support for COSHH.

            I have had to train 16 year old kids (and had responsibility for a few under that age on work experience schemes), again, not in a ship yard but in an engineering discipline, but were have I said anything about not training people though, how else are apprentices going to learn?!

            The problem I have with the HSE is that they seem to be attempting to remove risk, not enlighten people to identify and work with risk, the reason they do this is that it is impossible to remove risk and thus they have a never ending (access all areas) remit (VOSA seem to be taking the same approach with road safety, there will never ever be a ‘safe road’, people used to get injured and killed in the days of the man with a red flag)…

            As for common sense, indeed I know what you mean about teenagers but who has removed the natural learning process that most kids around the world [1] go through, yes the HSE, kids in the UK used to grow up with an element of real risk in their lives and thus learnt of risk and how to evaluate risk, now kids are so protected [2] that half the time kids now enter the world of work or further education without even a basic understand of risk, danger and real world.

            [1] including our EU neighbours

            [2] not helped by the ‘no win,no fee’ claims culture. Thankfully there seem to have been somewhat of a political backlash against this recently, more needs to be done though

          • Bazman
            Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

            Safety is never ending ‘work in progress’ if you like. How is it possible to ‘pay attention’ all the time and when you do not it is somehow always the victims fault? How is that ever going to increase safety? 100mph in a 30? Their is some valid argument in treating every safety problem with kid gloves and not emphasising that as they say ‘Safety is in your hands’. I even have mug with this wrote on. A bit sad for a 16 year old looking at this, but true. The danger though of allowing ‘never hurt me’ is to neglect those who it did, and those who die not survive in any situation. As a child a patient, a pedestrian or whatever.

  7. a-Tracy
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Where do I write to Mr Fallon? I have several suggestions and problems for him to consider. Or could I write to you to pass them on?

    I think you should be asking business about which rules tie them up in knots, which rules hamper their growth and how even slight amendments can benefit their employees too.

    I believe the taxation on paye job creation (employers ni) needs to be reviewed. Whenever you have a tax it should be the same for everybody and if it only impacts on one sector of society unfairly it needs abolishing and I’d be interested to know the equivalents in other similar Countries? The self employed are exempt from paying it but get no less benefit as an individual. The SME has to cover sick pay out of profits so it doesn’t pay sick benefits, or perhaps there is some benefit that my employees get for this 13.8% contribution over the public sector worker or self employed person that I’m not aware of? If an employee that is not a Director receives a large bonus, like those in the banking sector, do they pay NI on the annual equivalent or the monthly equivalent in the month that they are paid?

    Reply: Write to Mr Fallon at the Business department, or go on line to answer them with their Red Tape Challenge.

    • David John Wilson
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      NI should quite simply be got rid of along with all the red tape that it causes. The revenue that it collects should be shifted to a simple change in income tax. This would put unearned income on a level playing field with earned income.

      The employers’ NI is a brake on employment and creates cash flow problems particularly for small companies. It is also an un-necessary tax on exports without which the UK would become more competetive. The revenue could be collected by changes to corporation tax etc.

      • Jerry
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        @DJW: Not sure if that is as simple as it might first seem, people can make NI contributions (and thus get state pension credits) even when they pay no tax, either because they are within their personal allowance or because they are not earning. Perhaps the answer is to keep the employee’s NI contribution, and thus the ability to make voluntary contributions, but scrap the employers contribution?

        • David John Wilson
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

          As I understand the revisions to the state pensions system the reason for making extra contributions will not apply in future. You are doing what always happens within the Civil Service, making a simple solution more complicated. KISS

          • Jerry
            Posted September 16, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

            @DJW: It is more complex because it is complex, one rule doesn’t fit all…

        • sm
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          people can make NI contributions (and thus get state pension credits) even when they pay no tax.

          This demonstrates that the purpose of NI is in effect equivalent income tax, except it does not apply to non-labour income.

          Scrap it-compensate by increasing income tax rates, preferably a flat rate around 35% and set CGT at the same rate.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 16, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

            @sm: Actually it proves that NI contributions is still linked to the traditional (pre NHS) national insurance scheme.

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      The item I wanted to comment on about Red Tape is now closed and I wasn’t even aware it existed until you mentioned in your reply above.

  8. a-Tracy
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    One more thought, has a corporation tax calculated on profit per employee been considered as this would incentivise job creation any tax lost to the Exchequer would be compensated by the reduction in benefit payments.

    I wonder what the downside would be? Perhaps you’d have to have a tax free allowance per employee to make the incentive bite. But if the targets are to increase consumption, reduce benefit burdens of current workers, and get more people active in the economy there must be a solution if enough people apply themselves to debating suggestions.

    • forthurst
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      “I wonder what the downside would be?”

      It would be very popular with banksters distributing all their ‘profits’ as salaries and bonuses, but would be less popular with strategically valuable, high growth, high technology companies with high added value per employee that need a high level of retained profits in order to expand in a rapidly changing marketplace by investing most of their post tax profits in r & d as well as training new employees.

      The objective of a business is to make profits, not to solve the government’s unemployment problem which to a great extent is self-inflicted by the unrestricted importation of those taking British jobs and those who are totally unemployable and are a major drain on taxpayers’ funds, as well as the failure to provide a rigorous educational framework for all categories of endeavour.

    • David John Wilson
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Corporation Tax based on profit per employee. I thought we were trying to reduce red tape not increase it. It is clever taxes like this that cause all the red tape. KISS.

      • Jerry
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Sorry but KISS -Keep It Simple Stupid- inevitably caused the increase in red tape, as each and every exception to the KISS principle is found and the regulation/rule has another addendum added!

        The problem with a tax calculated on profit per employee is that it would be rife to abuse by the employer, in the same sort of way that some employers abuse the often used bonus pay schemes that are popular in some industries,it is very easy to make an employee appear (un)profitable…

        • a-tracy
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink

          Jerry, How is it easy to make an employee appear unprofitable. Simplistically if you take the total profit before tax and divide it by the total number of employees then you have the total profit per employee.

          If the Company manufactures a low profit per employee then it’s ability to raise investment would diminish and not be in its interest.

          All that I know is that a tax on employing people is not in the best interest of the Country.

          If a company is, as Forthurst says above, reinvesting in r&d and training this would allowable against Corporation tax any way and many r&d activities, quite correctly, attract extra tax allowances.

          • forthurst
            Posted September 16, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

            It is correct that corporation tax reliefs exist for certain categories of r&d; however, the rules are very tightly drawn. In principle, when companies have high profit margins per employee, it’s normally indicative of strong market demand which may require considerable investment in sales and administration to satisfy global markets. The main problem is that tax is far too high all round and moving it from a to b is simply rearranging the deckchairs. Only by reducing government spending can the inhibition of lawful business activity be curtailed.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 16, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

            If the work is not attributed to that worker then they appear less profitable, or vice-versa were work is attributed that wasn’t done, I wasn’t talking about total output. Does that make my point any clearer, perhaps I miss understood the point DJW was making when he said “profit per employee”?

  9. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    “Smart regulation” might be a better word to use than “deregulation” which many people link to the crisis that the financial sector caused for the world. As an analogy, making fines for the intrusion of privacy proportional to the potential profit from such an intrusion may require regulation not deregulation but it would be smarter than a fixed fine. To be able to have such a rule across Europe would give more protection to royals and celebrities but would require cooperation in EU context.
    Reducing the regulatory burden was part of the “plan for growth” letter by UK and 10 other EU members and I believe the EU Commission is now charged with presenting further progress during 2012.

    • Steven_L
      Posted September 16, 2012 at 1:02 am | Permalink

      Been done before, they call it ‘better regulation’ and had a quango for it (BRDO) that is now back under Dr Cable’s direction.

    • Bob
      Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      @PvL
      Better still, if you are at risk of being stalked by peeping toms, paparazzi or even assassins, avoid prancing around outside in the altogether. It’s not rocket science!

      The EU is not the solution (it’s the problem).

  10. stred
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    A whole new area of expanded regulation has recently been unleashed by Dave and Dummy, following their earlier promises to deregulate. I refer to the decision to allow Councils to licence shared houses and the inclusion of small dwellings in the definition. Gradually, the civil servants have reduced the definition to any house occupied by 3 or more unrelated persons.

    In my town, there was a problem with some over occupied student houses. A large number of university properties were sold to a developer who converted these 4 bedroom houses to 7 bedrooms, with a conservatory filling the garden and used as a lounge. Calls to the Council and university about noise until dawn, and flouting planning and building regulations resulted in no action.

    The response has been to apply licensing to almost all of the town centre, out to the universities. This will apply to 2 storey houses with more than 2 unrelated occupants, covering a huge number of properties. Landlords have until November 5th to comply. The licensing will require a fee of £500 and cover fire safety, electrical and gas safety, kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and management. The landlord will be responsible for the behaviour of the tenant! But it is a criminal offence to say to a tenant “If you do not do this, I will evict you”. And the council and police will not turn out to deal with noise until it is too late.

    Unsurprisingly, many landlords have decided to let to families only rather than face this onerous and expensive task. I telephoned the new Housing Action department this week, to be told by a helpful new jobsworth that if I wished to change to letting to families, I should inform the Planning Department. The reason is that there may be a shortage of shared housing, so they may wish to refuse permission.

    So they acted to curb the number of shared properties, and now they act to keep them! The university students are arriving and there are not enough. My property has been let to families and sharers in the past, but now I have to obtain permission to respond to the market. The result is a dogs breakfast. All that was necessary was that the Council and police use existing laws to enforce acceptable behaviour on problem tenants.

    • David John Wilson
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Almost any regulation that is called a licence involves pages of red tape, hours of wasted time and a small revenue collection.

      In its efforts to reduce red tape the government should be aiming to get rid of everything called a licence.

      Take for example the television licence. The revenue could be collected through a small increase in council tax. Gone would be a government department dedicated to collecting it, chasing non-payers and also all the time wasted by the courts fining non-payers. Yes there are other conversations that could be had about how the BBC should be funded but they just muddy the water in the way that civil servants will always do with such proposals. Just get rid of the licence and take the other discussions offline.

      The major problem with the failure of the government to get rid of red tape is that what is a simple proposal will always be diverted into a major debate by the civil service as in my example above.

      • Jerry
        Posted September 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Take for example the television licence. The revenue could be collected through a small increase in council tax.

        You are falling into the same trap as the TVL agency has, and for which it gets a lot of stick, not every residence has a TV (never mind one that is used to receive a television broadcast). No, as much as people hate the TV licence the current collection methods are probably the best and -in your parlance- KISS…

        • Bob
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

          @Jerry
          Suppose the BBC were promoting the UKIP instead of Labour – can you imagine the liberals saying “current collection methods are probably the best.” ?

          • Jerry
            Posted September 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

            @Bob: Yes I suspect they would! But then they would also wish to also fix any problems with bias rather than chuck the baby out with the dirty bath water…

            What annoys me about people who keep shouting “Close the BBC Down” is not that they wish the BBC to close, I don’t go that far but I do think that the BBC is far to large and does far to much, it needs to get back to a pure PSB core service) but because they always fail to suggest how Public Service Broadcasting should otherwise be funded – as I’ve said, even in that bastion of free market broadcasting, the USA, the FCC recognise that PSB plays a valuable role.

        • David John Wilson
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

          The number of residences that should not have a TV licence is very few. There will always be losers in any simplification.

          However you are falling into the trap of criticizing my example. Let’s just get on with it and get rid of the licences and the red tape involved.

          • Jerry
            Posted September 16, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

            @DJW: How about making everyone pay VED via their council tax, after all very few don’t use the roads in some shape or form and it would also add legitimacy to the water utilities charging house holds for highway drainage, how about adding a charge to all food so to fund the environmentally safe disposal of uneaten food that would otherwise go to landfill, sure those who only buy what they can eat will suffer but so what, there will always be losers in any simplification… If you start telling people who have no reason to pay for TV, roads or waste disposal that they now will be paying regardless you really are asking them to tell you what you can KISS!

        • sm
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          KISS= pay as you go.

          Can you see the BBC encrypting and charging per the hour like with a mobile phone. Now how is that not simple?

          • Jerry
            Posted September 16, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

            @sm: A conditional access module/card for PAYG viewers is certainly possible [1], perhaps something that should be developed along side the next generation of TV and STBs, I’m not sure what the public would make of it just now though having only updated their reception equipment as part of the digital switch-over!

            [1] using the same technology that is already used by the utility companies, it might even be able to use the same payment infrastructure, even allow a given amount of credit should the card run out of credit

      • Steven_L
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 1:04 am | Permalink

        And the alcohol licensing. Send that back to the mags court (if anywhere).

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        One advantage of the TV Licence is that it is clear to what purpose the money collect is put. (Apart from some sneaky top-slicing by the government).

  11. Acorn
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Mr Fallon will get nowhere, you know it, and all Redwoodians know it. There are some interesting stats’ around that blow holes in the political rhetoric.

    If you look at UK legislation, our Labour lot, on average, clocked up about 2700 rules a year. Since the Coalition got in that has shot up to about 4000 a year. They have clocked over 2900 so far this year!!!!! http://www.legislation.gov.uk/all .

    A long time back a lawyer at some do or other said to me, I paraphrase “what we call primary legislation is not what the EU calls it”. Didn’t understand it then and still don’t; something to do with the primacy of Treaties. Anyway, it is interesting to see that the EU clocked around 2000 rules last year and 1200 so far this year.

    The UK is clocking over twice as many as the EU!!! WTF. The EU has, what it calls, Acts at 112,000 against possibly 72,000 for the UK equivalent. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/Stats.do?context=legislative&date=2012 .

    Suggest you look around the EUR-Lex site, particularly the pages on the structure of EU legislation. 🙂 .

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      In common EU parlance the treaties are “primary legislation”, while Regulations, Directives and Decisions based on the treaties are “secondary legislation”.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      In the UK primary legislation refers to acts of Parliament, while secondary legislation (statutory instruments) refers to legislation created by a minister. Secondary legislation cannot overrule primary legislation.

      In the EU they have regulation and directives, both of which have to conform to the various EU treaties.

      • Acorn
        Posted September 17, 2012 at 6:35 am | Permalink

        Accepted thanks; but let’s move this discussion up a gear.

        “This paper concludes that the EU possesses a composite constitution more akin to that of the United Kingdom rather than a formal written text, as is typical in continental Europe. As such, in the present writer’s view, the Lisbon Treaty would feature, along with the other treaties, as a constitutional document within the constitutional arrangements of the EU, without it becoming a formal constitution itself.” http://www.abdn.ac.uk/law/documents/aslr/philip_bremner.pdf .

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          Yes, the treaties are often described as the EU’s “primary legislation” but they’re also sometimes described as the EU’s “constitution”, and it is also held by many eurofederalists that they are already legally superior to the national constitutions of the EU’s member states, or failing that if they are not yet fully accepted as being legally superior to the national constitutions then they should be so accepted as soon as possible.

  12. The PrangWizard
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    “This is a diverse and complex area of law, some rules are old, some new. Much of the UK consumer protection stems from the EU and is thus compulsory.”
    I copied this from a comment on one of the Red Tape Challenge pages. It illustrates to me the mindset of some private individuals and in business at some levels about the EU which is very worrying; that they see that the EU is the supreme Master who cannot be challenged. Whether acceptance or resignation I don’t know in the case quoted. It will be difficult enough to roll back the UK rules and regs but I wish strength and courage to those attempting it. It is disappointing that no attempt is being made to challenge the EU rules, of course.
    We must continue to work to change this viewpoint about the EU, and no matter how daunting we must not give the impression that all is lost. However, maybe one day we will need to take to the streets to demonstrate, seriously and with determination; we are entitled in a free society to do so, and freedom must be defended. There are many who get away with a bit of shouting in the pursuit of their aims and it isn’t long before their views are taken seriously and acted upon when they have a just cause with secret supporters in positions of influence. MPs like Mr Redwood speak out. However, pro-EU voices hold sway in the Establishment and the media and they use their powers to mis-inform and mislead us about the EU; opposition voices are stifled. We saw Barroso the other day demanding ever more expansion of EU powers, but we didn’t see and hear South East England MEP Dan Hannen’s short speech in the EU parliament in response, for example. He’s only allowed one minute, so the media can’t claim they didn’t have enough time for it.
    So why not EU-OUT too?
    “Keep on Keepin’ on.”

  13. Chris
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we should be shaping our own regulation according to what suits our industry/business rather than giving up and letting EU regulations take over. We may not always be in the EU and the change would be less difficult if we still preserved our regulatory framework. What is of huge concern to many ist he takeover by the EU in almost all spheres of our lives, and yet very few of our politicians who are supposed to represent us are taking effective action to expose what is happening, let alone taking any steps to prevent it. I think this is what is so dispiriting for so many in the electorate – we have realised that our politicians, by and large, are pro Europe, and more importantly the civil servants are, and that the scale of opposition to the EU is poorly organised, small scale, and hampered by those politicians who would rather toe the party line than represent their constituents. I realise, John, that you are aware of this and have taken action. My personal view is that eurosceptic MPs should try to work with UKIP and put aside the inevitable grievances for the greater good of the country. By doing this they would actually be representing their constituents effectively. At the moment, eurosceptic MPs seem to be indicating they cannot do anything about the status quo. That, I believe, is incorrect. They are in a position to take very powerful action.

    • Jerry
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      @Chris: All very easy to say from behind the goal, way up on the third tier of the stadium…

      • Bob
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        @Jerry

        UKIP’s membership unlike the Tory’s is growing.

        The worry is whether they manage to overthrow the Tories and Labour before it’s too late.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

          The problem UKIP has is that they have so far failed to get (I think I’m correct in saying) a second place at any Westminster election, even UKIPs own publicity now (only) talks about being the real third party -behind that of the Conservatives and Labour- now compare that with what the SDP managed before their formal merger with the Liberals, yes some SDP MPs came and went quickly but they did make it to take their seat at Westminster.

          Even in what should have been a two horse race UKIP and Mr Farage couldn’t manage a second place, coming third to the incumbent and local issues independent.

  14. stred
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Don’t tell the DECC but one of your contributors has just replaced his front door and frame with a lovely oak door with a U value of only 2.2 Watts/degC/ sq m/hr, when it should be only 1.7., saving about 30p per heating season. I will let you know whether the building inspector spots it.

    I wrote to the DECC a couple of months ago, suggesting that one easy way to reduce greenhouse gases would be to require structural engineers to use timber beeams rather than steel, where this is allowable. I have found that over specification is rife in some cases and have asked for the reason for designing 5 times the amount of steelwork aas was necessary. I was told that they “liked to use steel” and ” You may think you know a little about structural engineering”. After employing another engineer I was proved right.

    Steel has a far higher CO2 factor than timber and costs much more. Unsurprisingly, the consultants and builders rarely object to over specification. Only the unsuspecting customer and the environment suffer.

    The response from DECC to this suggestion, for a simple regulation, which would save money- Zilch. Not even an a receipt, despite the large and increased staffing levels.

  15. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Another area of abject failure by this government. As usual, the EU looms large and quite clearly there is no desire to offend their masters in Brussels. We have a quisling government that is anti-democratic as it fails to stand up to the EU totalitarian regime but refuses to allow the British people the right to decide their own future government and destiny.

  16. Atlas
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    John,

    I’m glad that your experience of Fallon and your hope that he will actually do something about this matter is greater than my confidence in the man. I’ve based mine on what I’ve seen of him on the Daily Politics and I’ve concluded that he is unlike to do anything his Civil Servant masters disapprove of. I’ll be pleased to be proved wrong.

    • Bob
      Posted September 16, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      @Atlas

      Don’t hold your breath though.

  17. Neil Craig
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    A bottom up approach which i would like would be to have a legal right to have a cost benefit analysis of any regulation and to have it automatically repealed if it costs 4 times more for the benefit than other regulations in comparable industries.

    This would put the entire regulatory framework of nuclear power, where at least 3/4 of the cost of the safest industry in the world is regulatory.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      What about regulations designed to save lives, such as fire exits? How do you calculate the benefit of saving lives and preventing injury?

  18. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    This and your earlier blog on banking bring home the need to reclaim a vast range powers from the EU and to negotiate a completely new relationship. For that the Conservative Party needs to get a mandate in 2015 from a seriously Eurosceptic manifesto.

    After the Finance Act of 2013 is safely on the Statute Book, progress on deficit reduction should be well under way and the coalition will no longer be needed. That is the moment that Eurosceptic Conservative MPs and MEPs must go for broke on the manifesto policy – and if it needs a new Party leader, it needs a new Party leader.

    It would be nice if our negotiating position also appealed to other member States that want to escape German or Franco-German hegemony, including some that are currently in the Euro zone.

  19. sm
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Deregulate..leave the EU…. tens of billion in savings.

    a) remove the BBC license fee/tax.
    b) remove VED duty.
    c) remove means testing substantially.
    d) remove NI for both employers and employees
    e) increase personal allowances to a similar amount for all to £15k
    f) bring in a flat tax at 35% and a limit all deductions to initially say £50k pa and then lower.
    g) whitelist tax compliant behaviour (tax avoidance explicitly envisaged by parliament). All other tax avoidance should require a clearance procedure controlled by a general avoidance principal, which would be paid for by the proposer of the scheme or the intended user if no proposer.
    h) replace stamp duty/council tax with a land value tax.
    i) cap public pensions at a say £25k pa or £500k capital value equivalent. Private provision only after that via paye only.

    Remove banks ability to create money, then deregulate and let them be compete and allow new competitors to take over.

    • Bob
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      @sm
      Not sure about item “g”.
      How would that work?

      Like a,c,f & i very much.

      • sm
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        item
        g) things like ISA’s, pension contributions, claiming of work expenses via mileage rates, would all be accepted tax compliant behavior or tax avoidance as specifically articulated and intended by parliament.
        This would be supported by a wider general or more robust anti abuse rule.
        Parliament would need to be mindful to draft laws to eliminate the potential for these loopholes-each law being issue with specific guidance.

        Tax avoidance scheme as marketed and proposed by on/offshore tax advisors to resident comedians and others,would need to seek and pay for tax clearance via fast track special tax courts, before being able to market the schemes and contract. They would remain jointly, severally and personally liable with the client till then for penalties, taxes due or levied. (Generally, it seems the client takes all the risk not the proposer)

        All these schemes cleared by the tax authorities/courts would be publicly published x months prior to the clearance date, this would allow for some debate if required in the public domain and possibly the law amended.

        A slightly more level playing field may result.

        Source for some of this TaxJusticeNetwork, Richard Murphy’s blog and no doubt others.

    • David Price
      Posted September 16, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      a – agree – a PBS needs one TV and one radio channel, rest should be by subscription
      b – agree
      c – disagree – what is rationale?
      d – disagree – instead money should go into a soveraign insurance fund
      e – disagree – what is rationale for 15k? what is wrong with 10k?
      f – disagree – what is rationale, eg why not have a flat rate of 10%?
      g – disagree – idea should be all is permitted unless banned by specific laws
      h – disagree – CT should be replaced by a service fee which varies with the services you use. AGree with dropping all stamp duty (house and shares)
      i – agree though I would use the PPF level as the cap.

      • Jerry
        Posted September 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        The problem with PSB is everyone has a different idea as to what PSB should be, and most have valid points, the best way top sum PSB up is that it is anything that needs to be freely available to all or which the commercial or subscription sectors can’t or won’t broadcast – this is a very large list, for example only the other day a politician (I think) was calling for greater woman’s sports coverage, Netball was given as an example, now until there is a commercial market -it has become more popular in other words- who other than a PSB channel would bother?…

        • David Price
          Posted September 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          I don’t agree at all with the blank cheque approach of ” .. it is anything that needs to be freely available to all or which the commercial or subscription sectors can’t or won’t broadcast.”, The BBC has shown how willing it is to waste money with large numbers of staff going on foreign jollies and the excessive salaries and fees paid to staff and “talent”.

          “Who other than a PSB channel would bother?” – Youtube perhaps

          My household watches little broadcast television now, mostly we use Youtube, DVD’s, the internet or simply don’t bother. That’s not to say we don’t watch the occaisional BBC programme but it’s not a regular thing.

          Furtehr to youyr example, the only people interested in women’s sport will be those interested in sport and their families, why should I subsidise them if my family have no interest in sport? The BBC’s charter (2006) doesn’t even mention sport except as part of the government department name.

          I have no interest in a monopoly moving from the BBC to a commercial broadcaster, I simply think the BBC has grown out of all proportion to it’s original remit, exerts a biased influence and see no reason why I should fund overhyped civil servants and so-called talent at excessive salaries.

          • David Price
            Posted September 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

            Delved deeper and there is mention of sports and minority sports in 8.2.b of the Agreement but even with that correction I stand by the rest of my comment.

  20. outsider
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    The EU has just cleared a new Energy Saving Directive which our own SoS Mr Davey claims to have made “more ambitious ” as well as more “practical and cost-effective”. It will provide a good test of the Government’s bona fides on red tape. Will the new UK law needed to enforce the directive increase regulation or cut it?

    The new Directive replaces two previous Directives and targets will now be compulsory. So the UK legislation can abolish all existing regulations in this area that are not explicitly required to enforce the new one. It can also cut all the public spending currently undertaken to persuade people to do what will now be legally compulsory.

    In particular, the new directive is claimed to exclude SMEs. If that is really true, then all existing UK regulation in this area affecting SMEs can be abolished.

    The Directive also allows wide areas of flexibility through companies taking “equivalent action” to that specified. So the new UK law can either leave this completely open, subject only to the new required regular audit, or set down excruciatingly detailed rules about the exact circumstances and alternatives designed to prevent any possible evasion and set the audit rules (including qualification to make audits) higher than is strictly necessary.

    I do hope that Mr Fallon, Mr Hayes at DECC, yourself and your colleagues will pay very close attention to how we implement this law and make sure that it leads to less red tape and cost and not more, as it normally would. In particular, I hope you will all make sure that there is no scope for adding detailed regulations that are not fully debated in Parliament.

    One of the (admittedly many) shocking revelations from watching Parliament on TV/internet is how many blocks of regulations are nodded through “as on the order paper” without any scrutiny.

    • Jerry
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      One of the (admittedly many) shocking revelations from watching Parliament on TV/internet is how many blocks of regulations are nodded through “as on the order paper” without any scrutiny.

      That doesn’t necessarily follow, who says there hasn’t been any scrutiny, just because it isn’t debated doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been scrutinised away from the floor of the house.

      • Bob
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        @Jerry
        “That doesn’t necessarily follow, who says there hasn’t been any scrutiny, just because it isn’t debated…”

        There simply isn’t enough hours in a day to scrutinise let alone debate the volume of regulations being bulldozered through the EU Parliament.

        Search :“Nigel Farage on voting in the EU parliament”

      • outsider
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        You are right Jerry that it does not “necessarily” mean they are not scrutinised by MPs elsewhere. The Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments will check them for drafting or being ultra vires but not their merits or whether they are necessary or more trouble than they are worth. Select Committees could examine them in detail but few do. They prefer sexier issues. They are more likely to be looked at if some new licence is required that was not mentioned in the primary legislation. But most, I suggest, are just waved through.

      • David Price
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        So we can see we are getting value for money and in the interests of transparency perhaps when these items are nodded through they could be annotated with the names of those MPs who have scrtutinised them. This would enable people who have questions to raise them with someone who has considered the material.

        Better still, perhaps nothing should be “nodded through” unless there are a certain number of names annotated to them.

  21. English Pensioner
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    It is useless employing Civil Servants to work on de-regulation. They have a vested interest in producing and enforcing regulations. Without regulations they would have no job and no-one is going to work themselves out of a job unless there is a very good incentive. Indeed it is exactly the reverse, the more regulations, the more staff that can be justified, and the more staff, the better one’s chances of promotion, or indeed of forming a whole new organisation to enforce some regulation.
    What is needed is a body which is paid by results. Not by the number of regulations abolished, because it would be quite easy to find many that no longer apply (regulations probably still exist governing the use of small boys to sweep chimneys), but by the monetary value that industry would save by not having them. Only then are there likely to be results.

  22. Daniel Thomas
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Deregulation is one of the biggest issues of our time along with government overspending and excessive taxation. The 100 billion price tag gives us a clue. Get this right and we are on our way to a growth based economy.

    Tinkering and consolidation will not be enough, it will take bold resolution and radical action to loosen the grip that government bureaucrats from Westminister and Brussels have over industry, businesses and our personal lives.

    The last Labour government did show such bold resolution when they saddled us with tens of thousands of unwanted laws, regulations and costs.

    I hope that Michael Fallon will be equally resolute when liberating the economy and the country from Labour’s disastrous, ideologically driven legacy.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    September 15th is Battle of Britain Day.

    We have a lot to live up to, and we’re failing to do so.

    In 1940 there were those who said that we should make peace with Nazi Germany and allow it to dominate the continent, and of course Nazi Germany would never come for us afterwards, once it had all the resources of the continent under its control, and sad to say the present British government seems to be headed by spiritual successors of those short-sighted or foolish or cowardly or simply unpatriotic people who advocated a peace treaty with Germany back in 1940.

    I’ve been reading a historical novel which culminates in another crucial battle, the 878 Battle of Edington when Alfred and his English troops inflicted a decisive defeat on the Danes, saving the kingdom of Wessex and making possible the gradual reconquest and unification of the land of the English.

    Apparently Alfred had a similar problem with some members of the elite, nobles, defecting to the Danes and taking their English levies, the fyrd, with them; but when it came to the battle most of those ordinary Englishmen decided that they wanted to fight on the side of the English and deserted their traitorous lords.

    Oh, and Alfred also had a big problem with the Danes repeatedly breaking the treaties he’d agreed with them.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

      According to Mein Kampf Hitler wanted to ally with the British Empire against the USA, so a long lasting peace between Nazi Germany and the British Empire was entirely possible. After all Hitler never tried to conquer Italy[1] or Bulgaria because they were his allies, and the majority of their population weren’t people he considered inferior.

      Alfred the Great’s didn’t unite England, though he did refer to himself as the King of Anglo-Saxons. England wasn’t united until his grandson Athelstan conquered the Northumbrians in 927. This lasted until King Sweyn and Canute from Denmark conquered England because Æthelred the Unready attacked Danes living in England.

      [1] Yes the Nazi’s did occupy Italy but this was after Mussolini was removed from power and Italy sided with the Allies.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        Nobody with an ounce of common sense would have trusted Hitler to keep any agreement which left Britain permanently outside his control.

        As I said, “saving the kingdom of Wessex and making possible the gradual reconquest and unification of the land of the English”, which as you say was not completed by Alfred but by his grandson Athelstan, the latter’s great but now little-known victory being that at Brunanburh in 937.

        • uanime5
          Posted September 17, 2012 at 12:27 am | Permalink

          Why not? Before 1939 Hitler never indicated that he wanted to conquer Britain as he was far more concerned reversing the Treaty of Versi; creating the Third Reich; and exterminating anyone he considered inferior (Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, and Communists).

          As Hitler didn’t object to Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, or Vichy France being out of his control why would he object to Britain being outside of his control? Especially if Britain was allied with him.

      • outsider
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Dear Uanime5,
        Your argument here does not sit well with your assertion in an earlier post that Britain started World War 2 out of self-interest.

        • uanime5
          Posted September 17, 2012 at 12:28 am | Permalink

          It was in Germany’s self-interest not to be at war with the British Empire and Russia, and in the British self-interest that Germany should not become the dominant power in Europe.

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Watching a TV programme about the Battle of Britain, I was impressed by the words of one of the surviving Luftwaffe airmen.

    Firstly:

    “It might surprise you but I never disliked the English.”

    However:

    “We thought that to complete Europe we needed England … they didn’t understand that we needed Europe … so as a last resort we will have to force them … which is why we have to beat them.”

    So what has changed, except that now the German politicial elite cannot resort to open physical warfare to force us and so must use other methods to pursue the same end?

    • Bob
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      @DC
      I suppose they could buy our biggest defence systems manufacturer and gradually move management and production to Germany or a German controlled region of the continent.

      That together with the steps taken by Dave’s Tories to weaken our existing military capability will mean we will be unable to resist any future attempts at domination.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        The Tory aim on behalf of the EU seems to be the same as that previously pursued by CND on behalf of the USSR – that we should be left defenceless and impotent.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

          @Denis: Is that any real surprise all things considered?…

    • sm
      Posted September 16, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      @DC have you investigated how money creation by the state for the state only enabled Germany to rise from the burdens placed upon it after the WW1.
      (Google webofdebt)

  25. Richard
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    The growth in regulation in the UK develops mainly from EU Directives.
    They pass quietly through Parliament without proper debate and then become law without amendment.
    Soon a Government department realises that it is probably responsible for enforcing this new regulation. They decide what a business must do to be compliant.
    Take the exciting” F Gas Regs, EC directive 307-2008″ which impacts anyone who is involved in air conditioning repair and servicing.
    The words “you must be a competent person” has been interpreted in the UK to mean that all involved must go on a course on safe handling of the refridgerent gas. This has recently been re interpreted to mean you have to be repeat this course every 3 years.
    You get a certificate of competence without which your company cannot purchase further supplies of the air con gas.
    A company I know has had to to send several of their very experienced engineers on a course which will only tell them what they already know, costing £375, in order to formally prove their competence.
    I could give you many other examples (look up the REACH regs, a classic waste of time).
    My feeling is that the UK interprets these directives far more strictly than any other EU member nation.

    • zorro
      Posted September 15, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      Though often a cliche, it is without doubt the case that UK civil servants are far more officious/zealous in enforcing these types of regulations.

      zorro

      • sm
        Posted September 16, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        Except it seems laws upon themselves, an example would be off-payroll employees.

  26. Iain Gill
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Although I am generally sympathetic to what you are saying John I think this message needs more work.

    We do not want to repeal good levels of safety, we do not want to repeal things that make sense to keep the country going in a sensible direction, we do need regulation otherwise we really would have even more immigration, factories running with no safety kit, buildings built without fire doors, and so on. On the other hand the whole state regulatory framework needs streamlining and simplifying, we probably only need one regulatory enforcement body why they overhead of so many? Its not that different inspecting one thing over another, much of the governance and admin is the same, sure there need to be specialists in each area but not necessarily whole seperate layers of admininstrators above them.

    We dont need to follow European rules any more slavishly than they other European countries do for a start.

    And we do not want to give the impression we endorse a race to the bottom in terms of health and safety, anti pollution measures, and the rest in order to compete with India and China. We need to compete in other ways than trying to transform ourselves into a 3rd world economy driven only by lowest cost.

  27. Mark
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Here’s an example of the consequences of bad regulation:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2203899/Sustainable-energy-Families-facing-2-000-bills-green-heating-does-work-Britain.html

    This is only going to get worse as we move to the nonsense of zero carbon building standards. The cost of such measures will severely damage housebuilding, as no-one wants to pay for expensive systems that don’t even work.

  28. sm
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    How much of the cost of gas/coal/oil etc is due to money printing or debt spending and consequent financial speculation in excess of production cycles.

    It would seem we are going back the full circle where a real discretionary and non discretionary demand crash could easily happen.

  29. peter davies
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Ha the horse not bolted? Like immigration if you leave out the consequences of EU then surely you are not left with much to worry about so any regualtions you do abolish get replaced by EU ones anyway.

    A bit like climate change/emissions targets. We are taking action but the actions of the likes of China/India make European action appear irrelevant

  30. Bazman
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    This Observer comment today pretty much says all there is to say about the deregulation fantasy which we know ‘deregulation’ really means is the ability to fire at will and no minimum wage. A race to hire and fire the most desperate and have no legal responsibility for anything.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/16/editorial-employment-vince-cable

    Ram it.

    • Jerry
      Posted September 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Bazman, no employer will get rid of an employee who is worth their weight in gold, it simple makes no economic sense, on the other hand employees who fail to pull their weight, that is a different story and just why should employers (and other employees) carry dead wood?

      • uanime5
        Posted September 17, 2012 at 12:31 am | Permalink

        The problem is that employers work their employees until they drop then fire them with little consequence. While this may be good for businesses it’s very bad for anyone who wants to work in the UK.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 17, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

          Rubbish, people with years of experience also tend to get promoted, or promote themselves by moving employment, but yes dead and driftwood needs to be cleared – otherwise the business becomes uneconomic and thus no one has a job, as happened in the 1970/80s…

        • Richard
          Posted September 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          uanime5
          I sometimes think you exist in a different century to the rest of us.
          Who are these companies who “work their employees till they drop and then fire them without consequence”
          hilarious!
          Got any examples you know of ?
          I think we should be told

          • Bazman
            Posted September 18, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

            You don’t think there is any? Now that is funny..

      • Bazman
        Posted September 17, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

        What about companies that employ a revolving door recruitment policy with a top down management system? They don’t exist? Oh really.

        • Jerry
          Posted September 17, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

          So what if they do Bazman, perhaps these are industries that need fresh ideas or fresh people, those who work in such industries tend to understand their own industry employment requirements. In any case the recent (proposed) employment law changes will not change any of this, why, because at the moment these sorts of jobs tend to have fixed length or temporary contracts anyway.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 17, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

            It’s nothing to do with fresh ideas. Certainly fresh meat. It’s about finding a group of individuals desperate enough to endure the wages and conditions offered by the company through employment agencies that only have to give one hours notice. Hows that for a temporary contract? Problem is that it works both ways and only the worst end up working there. In short they can ram it if thats the way they want to run the job.

          • Bazman
            Posted September 18, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

            Will be needing a reply to this Jerry.

    • uanime5
      Posted September 17, 2012 at 12:38 am | Permalink

      Ironically the death of capitalism was predicted to occur when the workers could no longer afford to purchase what they produce. As long as the Government remains committed to lowering salaries expect the economy to get worse and the people to become less tolerant of the Government.

      • Richard
        Posted September 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        “As long as the Government remains committed to reducing salaries”
        This has to be one of your most ridiculous statements.
        I didnt notice this in any of the three main parties manifesto documents.

        Also I love your bit about workers not being able to afford what they produce.
        A friend of mine works at Boeing and another at Rolls Royce …is that what you mean?

  31. David Langley
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    When I first read the Army Act 1955 and its accompanying book of regulations, I little realised that I had been in a highly disciplined Corps for many years with very little idea of the swathe of criminal acts I was likely to be liable and punished for. I was a highly disciplined and regulated man by our custom and practice honed by the common sense of what we did. I fear that the EU rule book is too vast and complicated either to understand or apply. We will fall foul of it without knowing and caring. This of course as most disciplinarians will point out is no excuse in law. However, it still means we are liable and capable of punishment. I fear that one day we will be brought up before the EU Godless Court of Human Rights and made to answer for disobeying article blah blah of blah.
    Will my local MP protect me from my not knowing?
    Well done on this John its very important because it highlights this stupid and pernicious regime that is secretly placing us under its yoke. Acts and rules unknown lead to abuse and eventual disrespect, which in turn lead to active disobedience and unrest when called to account for our ignorance.

  32. MartinW
    Posted September 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    If Michael Fallon does find, as we expect, that his ambition to abolish large swathes of regulations is frustrated by EU regulations and legislation (that we are unwilling to ignore, as other EU members do), then at least he should loudly publicise the fact. I suggest he obtains air-time every week and places the blame squarely where it belongs, so voters are fully informed.

  33. Bickers
    Posted September 17, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    So, if the EU is micro managing our lives and business regulation why do we need 650 MP’s, Parliament. Hol’s, a civil service and a plethora of quango’s. Oh yes, I forgot, the aforementioned are all part of a vichy operation to subsume the UK into the Greater Europe.

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    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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