How is the government getting on with deregulation?


          In the Economic Policy Review  presented to Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne in opposition, we  recommended 33 specific items of deregulation. We also recommended that a Minister be responsible for constructing regulatory budgets, with a view  to cutting the total cost of regulations for business by £14 billion a year by the fifth year of a new government. To do so meant tackling some large areas of regulation like data protection and working time, and accepting that some of the dearest regulations were EU in origin which needed amendment or repeal.  So how has the Coalition government got on?

           They have appointed a Minister, and they do now keep and publish  a score of the costs to business. Each new domestic regulation has to be costed, and the sponsor department has to explain how it will offset this cost. According to the Minister, the government has so far saved business £850 m a year on domestic rules. However, without knowing the costs of EU rules this is only part of the story. They require every department to remove at least one regulation for every new one introduced, which they have been doing. Quite a lot of those removed are on examination  no longer effective or have been replaced by some other measure.

          This £850 m saving rests heavily on one measure, the changes to indexing pensions rules which companies are using to cut pension cost. This large saving of around £3.5 bn has been substantially offset by a more recent requirement to automatically enrol employees in the new pension scheme, which is estimated to cost £2.8 bn extra each year. As Mr Prisk, the Minister, says “Excluding private pension reform, regulatory savings to business since 2011 are expected to be at least £160 m” (He actually  writes -£16om but think he means positive savings of £160 m).

          The government has ended the bulk of the Home Information packs which we proposed for abolition, but had to keep the energy part of it to comply with the EU. They have announced some changes to employment law. They are still consulting on how to make money laundering enforcement proportionate and sensible, where we recommended removing the need to make checks where the money was coming from an account in a UK, EU or US regulated bank. They have scrapped the Comprehensive Performance regime for local government and made changes to the Best Value regime as recommended.

             As a result from January 2011 to the end of December 2012 the government has or will repeal 77 measures whilst introducing 40 new ones. The Business department and Defra (after DWP’s pension changes)  have made the largest reductions in regulatory cost.  The Climate Change Department, Transport, Health and Home Office have all increased the costs on business from their activities.

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  1. alan jutson
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Had anyone noticed any changes before you exposed them this morning ?.

    I think you missed one JR,

    Was not Vince Cable crowing about something to do with Belgian chocolates or something similar as well !

    So now we have a Minister for deregulation as well.
    Can I ask how many people his Department now employs. !

    What was wrong with each Department Minister going through a list for which they were responsible.

    The promised bonfire still awaits collection, let alone a match.

    • waramess
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Truly laughable, isn’t it? A primary class of schoolchildren could do better

      • Timaction
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        I’m afraid the current crop of Ministers/Sir Humphries and their predecessors haven’t and couldn’t run a whelk stall. There we have the unwanted fingerprints of the EU all over our businesses like a regulatory rash. So remind me of the benefits of the EU………3 million jobs at risk, trade, a voice in the world? No, no and no again. The EU is a costly benemoth costing us £11 billion net annually, £9 billion more implementing its directives, no reform of the hughly costly fishing or agricultural policies for a £50 billion annual trade deficit. The games up we don’t want or need a retirement place for failed politicians to earn gigantic wages and unreformed pensions. A bit like MP’s pensions are still RPI linked whilst everyone else is CPI!!

        • Timaction
          Posted August 20, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

          Then we have the Climate Change Department (Previously Global Warming) employing zillions of civil servants to check that the temperature hasn’t changed in 15 years. Then they call it climate change as the 0.034% of CO2 in our atmoshere, a trace gas and naturally occurring plant food is supposedly changing our climate, when research has shown time and again that the jet stream actually alters weather and this is dependent on the activity and intensity of that single star in our solar system known as the…….Sun. So Sun spots and flares influence weather. Let’s not get rid of this weaze as we need carbon trading and air passenger duty (3rd highest in the world apart from two other banana republics) and windmills/solar panels and green taxes of all persuasion to send our industries……. abroad and our pensioners/young people in energy poverty. Whilst some politicians and their immediaite families take advantage.
          Meanwhile America, China, Canada etc are moving forward with self sufficiency in mind on their energy needs e.g. Shale Gas, nucleur power. Our Government meanwhile puts it s fingers in its collective ears and ignores the facts as they emerge. Still there must be another £11 billion we can borrow to give away in foreign aid.

          • nemesis
            Posted August 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

            Well said.

          • Patrick Loaring
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

            I second that, WELL SAID!

          • uanime5
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

            Real science has shown that sunspots have little or no effect on climate and if the atmosphere contained 7% CO2 everyone would die within 1 hour.

          • APL
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

            uanime5: “and if the atmosphere contained 7% CO2 everyone would die within 1 hour.”

            Yes, but what has that fantasy assertion got to do with atmospheric science? It certainly isn’t ‘Real Science’.

            If Nitrogen which comprises 80% of the atmosphere rose to 96% at the expense of Oxygen, we’d all die, too.

            Neither scenario is at all likely to occur any time soon.

  2. Pete the Bike
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    So we are in the 3rd year of the government and they have actually saved business 6% of their target by the end of 5 years. Not looking good is it? In fact that promise is looking just as bad as all Dave’s other promises. Abject failure is likely to be the epitaph of this coalition.
    There really is no hope of this bunch of useless seat polishers doing anything constructive at all. No real cuts in spending at all, no cuts in regulation, no cuts in taxation, no standing up to the EU. Hopeless.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      They have not saved 6% or anything at all. Indeed they have lumped more regulatory costs on. The main saving, the indexing pensions rules, is not a net saving at all just a saving to industry and a loss to staff.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:42 am | Permalink

        On this pension deregulation logic – then clearly the minimum wage (and the increase) costs businesses a fortune and its removal would save them billions.

        I am interested in real saving that cut out pointless cost for companies and individuals and reduce the size of the state sector too. Not just shift the burden.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink



    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Pete – If they stood up to anyone they wouldn’t be seat polishers now, would they !

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Good point. As long as they know what they are supposed to be doing.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    As far as I can see the £850 m claimed from the changes to indexing pensions rules just saves businesses money but then reduces payments for pensioners later so no real net saving to the county over all. We want regulation cuts that reduce costs by stopping people having to do pointless things at all. To include this as a saving is absurd.

    The new forced pensions are a huge burden on Industry (and are an absurd system anyway), the energy performance certificates are a pointless joke too. They tell the owners nothing he does not already know. Any buyer can see, on a two minute walk round the property, what the “expert” tells you in the pointless report. More energy is wasted in doing them than they are ever likely to save. The proposed Paternity rules and gender neutral insurance must cost a fortune and have no positive impact whatsoever – quite the reverse in fact.

    Nothing sensible on employment laws, more nonsense on building regulations, more disability nonsense, more green energy nonsense and now even making noises about the absurd Severn barrage scheme.

    At least Hips have (nearly) gone I suppose and the M4 Bus Lane. Almost the only good things they have done so far that affect me.

    I note that planning only now lasts for 3 years now so often pointless additional costs in renewing why?

    Reply: I agree that I am more swayed by the value of a deregulation when it takes wasteful public sector costs away rather than cutting private sector entitlements.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink


      Why does Planning only lasts 3 years now ?

      Simple you have to re-apply and pay another fee, thus its a 40% increase in fee income.

      Its also probably the idea that it would try and stop a growing number of permissions being held in the approval stage, but not started, although once you have started, as you know well, you get further periods of time to complete.

      Definition of started ?

      Materials on site, foundations dug, concrete in, or just site cleared, who knows. !

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        This should be relaxed as many are having trouble finding funding to complete the builds causing delays.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        You’ve just reminded me that planning for a big project takes a lot longer than 3 years, especially if a public enquiry is needed.

        So why hasn’t an additional runway for Gatwick already been announced? By explicit agreement with the people there, the government can open another runway as early as 2019. If the terminals have to be modified, 7 years will just about be enough for design, public inquiry and construction.

        There will be less resistance to Gatwick than to Heathrow or to Boris’s Thames estuary airport. Why not take the easy option?

        And please break up BAA so that London’s airports compete with each other.

    • A different Simon
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic ,

      Whilst I don’t think employers should have anything to do with pensions I have to commend you for pointing out that there is no net saving to the country .

      Don’t think providing companies (which have very unwisely committed to providing defined benefits pensions) with a way out of honouring their “obligations” can really be categorised as “regulation” anyway .

      Similarly with the Govt and state sector pensions . No move towards defined contribution and removing the guarantee and no viable pensions for people in the private sector .

      Sum achievements of the Govt <= zero .

  4. Roger
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    ” every department must remove one regulation before introducing a new one”
    This is nowhere near ambitious enough and is at the heart of our problems.

  5. Acorn
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Long long way to go JR. Have a look at the “most requested Acts” on the home page of . That tells you where to concentrate your efforts. These are the acts that are dragging our businesses through the Courts and Tribunals. Depending how you add them up – more difficult on this new style site – 5,174 pieces of primary legislation and 51,152 pieces of secondary rules and regulations. You can get 62,015 if you cut your way through the search system!

  6. oldtimer
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I get the impression that deregulation is turning out to be another smoke and mirrors job – now you see it, now you don`t. The most damaging regulations flow from the Climate Change Act. These are not only imposing huge costs on both business and consumer they also inhibit investment in the productive capacity needed to regenerate economic growth. That, of course, was and remains the objective of at least some of the authors and advocates of this legislation.

  7. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    In education we were promised greater professional freedom.
    We were promised substantial reform of Ofsted.

    The last government were on the verge of putting Ofsted under the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act (2006) to ensure that Ofsted would be obliged to the same standards as the regulators of all other organisations (standards which are designed to ensure organisation have appropriate professional freedoms and that their regulators are accountable if they violate these freedoms) but it ran out of time while 5 of our seven regulators said – yes we have reformed during the 3 years we’ve been warned about this and we are completely ready, Ofsted was clearly violating the standards and was not ready. So it was only obligated to the standards in its actions with public and private schools and state schools and although it was clearly directed to apply the same standards to all schools (and it made it clear it could only run one system) state schools were left unable to hold their regulator accountable for even the most obvious damaging behaviour.

    However under this government Michael Gove has taken Ofsted in completely the opposite direction to the standards, declaring ‘no cause for concern’ to be ’cause for concern’, rapidly increasing the number of schools being labelled as being failing schools and directly controlling Ofsted himself, ordering inspections where he wants them to bully schools into accepting his policies.


    • Rebecca Hanson
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Of course it is well documented DFE has been disposing of emails at a great rate and driving the authorities which investigate such things to distraction.

      If anyone would like to talk to some of those affected by stitched up inspections where the decision to put a good school into special measures was made before the inspection for political reasons (required numbers it seems) please do get in touch and I will happily introduce you to people who will tell you about what’s been going on.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Teaching could be deregulated by classing it as part time work.

  8. Ian Hills
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Better Off Out.

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Thank you for highlighting yet another area where this government’s performance is failing lamentably. I knew that the time would come when we realised how totally incompetent this government is, but even I am surprised how soon after taking office this has become apparent. What might be easier for you to show are those areas where they are anywhere near to meeting their pre-election rhetoric; it would certainly make a much shorter list.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      A blank piece of paper then.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink


  10. Stephen Almond
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    “As Mr Prisk, the Minister, says “Excluding private pension reform, regulatory savings to business since 2011 are expected to be at least £160 m” (He actually writes -£16om but think he means positive savings of £160 m).”

    This individual is in charge of monitoring and spending taxpayer’s money and produces embarrassingly shoddy work like this?

  11. James Reade
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    The implicit message I read from this post is that all regulation is bad – unless you would like to specify otherwise, John?

    Now of course we all agree unnecessary regulation is bad, but really, have you ever heard someone out there shouting about how much they love unnecessary regulation? How do we agree that something is unnecessary, particularly if one group argues it is necessary, while the other says its not?

    The necessity or otherwise of regulation is almost entirely personal opinion. Since you mention that one of the “unnecessary regulations” that has been removed, a requirement to index pensions to a particular price index, this makes it pretty clear whose opinion matters most when it comes to whether a regulation is necessary or not.

    I’m pretty sure someone could come up with an argument about how this regulation protects groups who don’t have particularly many bargaining rights – those long retired. So I’m already unconvinced this was “unnecessary”, although I’m sure most of your fan group of commentators on here will agree with you.

    And given this seeming desire to run roughshod over the rights of those less fortunate than upper middle class Britons that seems to be the blood of the party you are a member of, John, it seems all the more amusing that yesterday you claimed that all this stuff about the “nasty party” never really being true is exactly what it looks like: Delusional. I’ll just be happier still when this is reflected at the polling box in 2015, since you seem unwilling to address a clear electability problem for the Tories.

    Reply: I have set out the government’s position. In replies to comments I also stated I regard cancellation of a regulation that produces a saving in the public regulatory cost as much more helpful than allowing employers to offer less to their staff, though you choose to ignore this comment. I do not regard all regulation as bad and have argued for sensible regulation- as when in the mid 200s I called for proper regulation of banks cash and capital as I was worried by the laxity. Cumulatively there is too much regulation and some of it is bad or achieves the opposite of what is intended.

    • JimF
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      The electability problem will be a result of the stasis of this Tory-dominated coalition. Of course a particular regulation can be seen as necessary by some and unnecessary by others. Of course it is a matter of opinion. Take the working-time directive. From one point of view it protects the so-called vulnerable from being exploited by their employers. So why isn’t it universally accepted by all but exploiters in our Society? Because it is an opinion based on a short-term view; it is quite clear that a region imposing such regulations will in time become uncompetitive with the rest of the world. This is just one small facet of the views that those with *opinions* counter to the Euro trend aired some years ago. Look where the Eurozone is now? Whose opinions proved correct? They weren’t all middle class folk trying to trample the underclass. On the contrary, they were people applying common sense and logic in the face of nicey-nicey ideas by people like Blair, who don’t understand the world outside the celeb-elite circle.

      • uanime5
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        Because it is an opinion based on a short-term view; it is quite clear that a region imposing such regulations will in time become uncompetitive with the rest of the world.

        You’re clearly demonstrating your ignorance. Unless there is more work to do than the time available this region will not become uncompetitive. This is why countries that have shorter working hours are not at a disadvantage when compared to countries that have longer working hours.

        Also in South Korea they found that the more time they gave people to complete a task the longer it took, so they cut working hours in order to make their staff work more efficiently when they were at work. It worked.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          South Korea? You need not go so far. Have you never heard of Professor C Northcote Parkinson? Parkinson’s law states that “Work expands to fill the time available.” The Professor formulated his law after several years working in the English Civil Service.

    • Christopher Ekstrom
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Sceptics & Nasty. More like whiners (etc)!

  12. Steven Granger
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Absolutely hopeless. Again, what you fail to highlight properly is the fact that most of the regulation that needs to be removed comes from the EU. The government is reduced to finding areas where our regulation goes beyone even what the EU requires and then cutting back to just the EU mandated minimum. The government hasn’t even tried to curtail any single EU regulation. When they do cut some insignificant requirement, they crow about it for all its worth to try and give the false impression that they are doing anything. The £160m you quote is not even a rounding error (and I don’t believe it anyway). What you also fail to point out is that much more EU regulation is on the way covering things like energy policy, zero carbon building regulation and the like which will cost billions. You are part of the spin machine with the above article trying to put a positive spin on what is an utterly lamentable performance. What a disgrace.

    Reply: I pointed out they excluded the ever more important EU regs, and merely set out what is happening. There is no “spin” in what I said.

    • Steven Granger
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      I’m not saying that you have said anything incorrect, merely that a reader of your article might get the impression that the government is busily cutting regulations. Your article is headed “how is the government getting on..” By any measure, the answer to that question is that progress compared to the stated aims is lamentable. Your focus on the few regulations that have been cut give a different impression. You do not question why the government has done nothing to reverse EU regulations (despite its stated intention of doing so) and you do not mention the torrent of new regulations to come in over the next few years (the costs of which will be many thousands of times the value of the few savings identified in your article). If that is not an example of spin, I don’t know what is.

      Reply: Spin is where you stress the positive and ignore the negative, or deliberately misrepresent. I have sought merely to set out what has happened to date, to let you all make up your mind and write in with your judgements.

  13. Mactheknife
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    It was noticable from your blog piece that EU regulation was left in place and as we know most of our regulations now come from the EU it says everything about Cameron and his “renegotiation” with Europe i.e. there is NO renegotiation at all.

  14. Edward.
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    ‘Government deregulation’, is that an oxymoron, or just a pun?

  15. Iain
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Would it make any real difference? The real problem is a cataclysmic lack of demand.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Lack of demand for what? Goods and services? That might have something to do with the fact we have to give so much of our money to the government and that they waste a lot of it.

  16. merlin
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The figures sound “impressive” I don’t think, this government is spending more than labour did when in office. I don’t think the general public will even know or understand what has just been explained and take little notice of it. My impression so far of this coalition is that it is going nowhere and has all its priorities completeley wrong. EU regulations continue unabated and Cameron is perceived as another weak Prime Minister along with Heath and Major. I think the phrase “get a grip” applies to Cameron before Boris Johnson makes his move.

  17. Mark
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Can anyone give a scorecard against these proposals?

    • uanime5
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      Thankfully this abomination has failed so employees rights are safe, employers have to ensure their work places are safe, people can continue to sue if they’re injured, racism is a crime, and money laundering is a crime.

  18. Atlas
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I wonder if Sir Winston Churchill would have allowed such a state of over-regulation to happen?

    On the matter of personality (& policies) to do anything about this Cameron comes over, as in many things, as a Stanley Baldwin. By the way, thinking of that era, Osborne should note that whilst Neville Chamberlain was a ‘good’ Chancellor he was a disasterous PM. Since Osborne is not even a good Chancellor – judged by the evidence of the state of our Economy – then the prospect of him as a future PM fills me with despair.

    The question is: who is the Sir Winston of our times – ie who is not in the Cabinet but calling it ‘right’ on the Economy? Boris perhaps?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Atlas, I agree. I am filled with despair. I see a smattering of true talent on the back benches wringing their hands at the lack of direction and force of character in most of the ministers, yet they can’t rock the boat too much in case they are accused of disloyalty. Disloyalty to what, inertia and ineptitude?

      Time is running out. Great strides should have been taken by this administration, not faltering steps. But the looming disaster that would be another Labour government, had it’s origins in Cameron’s election as party leader. We needed a radical, but we got another Major, and the country got rid of that bloke with emphasis in 1997. Little wonder the Tories didn’t get an outright majority last time. The only option left, is to get rid and put a true blue in his place, but who?

      In my view, the parliamentary Conservative party lost it’s direction and thus it’s affinity with the public, decades ago. They kept selecting yesmen who would go along with the pro-EU direction, and tried to push out decent people of spirit and conviction by some very devious means. Personally, I think they need a Nigel Farage, but I can’t see anyone of that calibre coming to the fore from the Tory benches. That takes b**ls, and is something most of them patently lack, otherwise we wouldn’t be in this mess.


      • Christopher Ekstrom
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        Despair really sums up in a word what this PM has done to the UK. If his name fails to go down in infamy then it will mean England has no future. The last several posts by JR seem disconnected & rather futile. Perhaps the masquerade is winding down. Loyalty to a lying traitor must be wearing.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:44 am | Permalink

        I think in about a year’s time you might get a pleasant surprise. After the 2013 Finance Act is safely on the Statute book, the need for the Coalition will lessen. No less a person than Vince Cable has said that at some point before the next election the LibDems will want to recover their own identity. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

        Then the Conservative back benchers may well agitate for their own European policies. It will do no harm if the Conservative grass roots begin the process now, and indeed I am campaigning at Ward level. There is really nothing to lose and I would urge all Conservative Eurosceptics to act similarly.

  19. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Sounds like people who have been doing the best they can given the EU ball and chain attached to their leg.

  20. Phil Richmond
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    John – This government is absolutely hopeless. We are still being strangled by EU regulation. I just dont see a way out for this country.
    Would you explain to your leadership that excessive bureaucracy + EU meddling + high energy costs + complex high taxation = a dying private sector.
    My company has an employment freeze in the UK and is reducing staff in Europe but is rapidly expanding its workforce in Asia, Africa, South America.
    John you speak fine sensible words. You even have solutions to our problems. However you seem to underestimate the seriousness of our situation. We cannot drift by with 3 more years of Cameron followed by 5 years of Balls & Milliband. A drastic solution is needed. Cameron must be removed asap and replaced with a true Conservative leader with you at Chancellor.
    Why doesnt somebody do something? Farage was right about the Tories. I have just written a cheque for UKIP. They are our only hope!!

  21. Tad Davison
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    One rule in, one rule out, seems like tokenism to me. It shows a lack of proper commitment to the cause. Each rule needs to be properly evaluated on its effectiveness, or it needs to go. Prime candidates must surely be those Eurocentric regulations that inhibit business, the very thing that will get us out of the mess the last wasteful, spendthrift Labour government got us into.

    The problem is of course, the fag paper test. It is difficult to put a fag paper between any of the three main political parties. They all seem to want to inhibit wealth creators. Whilst I don’t advocate a return to the workhouse, and some employment rights are necessary, can we honestly say the present system serves us well?

    I was told recently by a Polish manageress of a large supermarket chain, that she gets lots of job applications. She hasn’t got time to sift through them all, so she immediately discards any that don’t have Polish names. So who thought it a good idea that we should enshrine into law, free movement of labour throughout the EU?

    There’s one law that could go for a start! Oh, silly me, I forgot, we can’t get rid of such laws because past governments have signed us up to the EU without proper reference to the people. Bring on the revolution! That’s the only way we’re going to resolve the problem.

    Tad Davison


  22. Bernard Juby
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t it “Tarzan” who was going to make a bonfire of Regulations? Well I did,literally, on a specially commissioned ATV Today programme so long ago! I pretended to want to start a new business and they followed me through each and every Dept. of State and Birmingham L.A., amassing piles of rules & regs. as I went. I ended up with my solution to the problem by setting light to it all.
    That was yonks ago! The EUs so-calles Regulatory Impact Assessment was and is a farce since there is no mechanism for telling the legislaters that their information is wrong.
    Well Tarzan/Conservative Party – the small & micro-business sector is still waiting – or is it just a sop to Cerberus?

  23. NevermindtheMolluscs
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Dear John
    It is getting worse for business, not better. For example, new legislation in force from October requires the HSE to charge fees for intervention following inspection of work premises where a material breach of safety legislation has been found. This is charged at a massive rate of £124 per hour, starting from the moment an inspector sets foot on the premises and includes time taken to produce a letter or notice and even the time taken by the HSE in dealing with a dispute over the size of their bills! In short, it is difficult to see how the charge will be less than £500 (painful for a small business) so theres loads of incentive for Inspectors to get out there, actively seek faults to meet targets and bring in the money rather than act in their currently advisory capacity.
    I agree that employers who deliberately take liberties with the lives of their employees need a shake up but by legislating to give green lights to yet another government department to hoover money from the depleted coffers of industry at a time when it is struggling to keep its head above water is not the way. How about an alternative idea- sending culprits on enforced training courses? That way the HSE recoups costs via training courses and there is a positive outcome.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      I think you are under the illusion that this government is any different from Labour governments.

    • Bernard Juby
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Hear! Hear! There are too many “Little Hitler/Jobsworths” out there already!

    • uanime5
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      The solution is simple; make sure you business complies with health and safety regulations.

      No material breach of safety legislation = no inspection fees.

      Simple really.

      • stred
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        Have you ever tried to comply with any set of government regulations completely? Even inspectors have different opinions and interpretations. If the inspecting authority is allowed to charge a lucrative fee on a time basis, it will be a nightmare for any small business.

        To think that this has been passed by a Conservative PM and a LD deputy who promised to reduce regualtion!

  24. Ted Greenhalgh
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I do not know how many MPs produce this type of site but whether you agree or disagree with John one must be impressed by the work that goes into it. I wonder if it is widely read by his colleagues.

    Reply: Ys, it is widely read and picked up by various people and outlets interested in UK government

    • Christopher Ekstrom
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      I profoundly hope this PM is informed of its content. I hope Sam of SamCam is earnestly shopping for a suitable villa in Provence.

  25. BobE
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    2 years 8 months to the next labour government folks.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Spot on. Depressing is it not?

      Then again, I suddenly find myself thinking of the Spot the Difference competition in the News of the World when I was a child.

    • A different Simon
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      As you can see from the comments on this article , the current Govt hasn’t even got off accelerator , let alone tried to bring the train to a halt .

      It’s going to be at least another decade before the UK bottoms out and people begrudgingly acknowledge that things have to change .

      Goodness knows how much of peoples savings and private pensions will be expropriated in the mean time to keep the charade going .

      All the Britains got X-Factor celebrity come property ladder TV isn’t going stop the anger erupting on the streets .

      It might be the only thing The City and the Govt understand .

  26. Leslie Singleton
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Apart from the very few (but ironically far too many) people who benefit from these regulations, in particular those who brought them in and administer them, who exactly would wish to retain them, given the chance?

    To ask the question is to answer it: no-one. Again it is ironic but, to my mind at least, if the more fatuous regulations were got rid of in a bonfire of the regulatories the EU would ipso facto not only immediately start growing but would become much more popular at the same time.

    Changing gear, HIPS were not all bad because, at least with old houses, by actively searching for a “bad” score (and this made all the sense in the world to the estate agents) one had more chance of finding a house that hadn’t been buggered about with, meaning no ghastly and unreliable plastic double glazing, no dangerous cavity wall insulation, blocking the, designed, through passage of air which in many cases had kept the house dry for centuries and the asbestos substitute glass fibre often making lofts much colder than they weren’t to be and close to no-go areas.

  27. Derek Emery
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Surely the bulk of regulation emanates from the EU and you can do nothing if you are the UK as our bureaucrats are avid followers and gold-platers of all EU directives and regulations, unlike France for example which ignores all regulations that do not suit it.

    • REPay
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink


      You make a good point. Our Civil Service seems very detached from the country and have no idea of what our national interests are, (this is in common with FCO which used to say under the last government, that we just had values, not national interests). They have little interest in saving taxpayer money or value for money – just look at the PFI contracts where the taxpayer is paying multiples of the value thanks to sloppy work by our civil servants. As index linked against inflation and largely non-contributory pensions they don’t have any “skin in the game”. Rarely is a civil servant accountable for a mistake. I suspect departmental interests trump national interests.

      I once had to deal with a treasury official, a lawyer, who wilfully misinterpreted a piece of legislation which led to the siting of a major financial services regulatory body led to the loss of millions of pound. Not only was she wrong, and deaf to the pleas of the far more senior people, but there was none of the intelligent problem solving to help the UK win something that would have resulted in 20,000 plus visits to London by financial services people. An Enarque would have not be so destructive and would have bent the rules in France’s favor, not positived inclined rules against his country.

      The ethos of the Civil Service needs to be urgently addressed.

  28. Tad Davison
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    As an aside, some seven years or so ago, being the adventurous sort of bloke that I am, and not being fazed by anything, I wanted to take up paramotoring, but I don’t get around too good, so I investigated the possibility of fitting a rudimentary undercarriage to the machine.

    A paramotor is essentially a paraglider, with a motor strapped to the pilot’s back. It is ‘foot-launched’ and requires no certification, and the pilot doesn’t need to be licenced. There is a man in Cambridgeshire, Geoff Soden, who is a world renown expert on paramotors, and could have given me expert tuition for around £800.

    However, fit wheels to the thing, and according to the Civil Aviation Authority, it becomes something else entirely, a microlight aircraft by their definition, requiring certification and a microlight pilot’s licence. Tuition would then be five times more expensive.

    I argued with the Civil Aviation Authority that such a position was discriminatory towards disabled people. I subsequently had David Heathcote-Amery, and Alan Duncan trying to persuade both the CAA and the likes of Sir Roy McNulty, to change their position. For their part, the Disabilty Rights Commission didn’t want to know, so they’re about as useful as a urinal made of snow!

    I also have a letter from JR in which he promised this was one crazy law that would be looked at and repealed with the return of a Conservative government, although I freely accept it is now out of his area of influence. But it just shows how mad some legislation is.

    Incidentally, the CAA said I could use wheels on a paramotor without changing its classification, provided they weren’t attached to the frame of the aircraft. Now think about that. All the stresses and strains of a take-off and landing would then be channelled directly through the spinal column of a disabled person who wants to use wheels to eliminate the need to run to become airborne. These people are away with the fairies!

    As it turned out, I am even less able now than I was then, so gave up on the idea, but it does make me wonder if people who make rules and regulations really know what they’re doing in the first place, and this is the CAA we’re talking about, the very people we entrust with the safety of our skies.

    The law might have been changed since, I haven’t looked, but we simply must do better right across the board in order to extricate ourselves from costly bureaucracy.

    Tad Davison


    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Tad – These things may not need certification but it seems to me that anyone who would want to fly in one does.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        You have a good point EK! Best cure for constipation known to man!


      • lifelogic
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink


    • A different Simon
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Tad ,

      I’m disbarred from holding a pilots licence due to medical reasons .

      I thought a pilots licence was required even to pilot a hang-glider or para-glider .

      Maybe this is 0ne flying machine I could pilot until they change the law ?

      • Tad Davison
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        As I understand it Simon, a paraglider pilot, nor a paramotor pilot, is required to hold a pilot’s licence of any description. They more or less fly on their own cognisance, subject to them understanding air law, and the limitations of use of their aircraft. But please don’t hold me to that because things might have changed in the meantime.

        I felt miffed though, because a simple adaptation that would remove the need for a disabled person to run along the ground to become airborne, caused a complete reclassification with subsequent licensing and expensive tuition. Even though I could prove that the maximum permitted weight and fuel capacity would not be exceeded with the addition of a rudimentary fixed undercarriage.

        The CAA simply wouldn’t accept that their rules were unjust and badly thought out. And I have a sneaking feeling a lot of other powerful bodies are equally reluctant to accept that in some cases, they have got it badly wrong. The don’t want to lose face.

        I was most disappointed by the Disability Rights Commission however. Here was a clear breach of the law in my view, and one that could so easily have been put right, but that gutless shower are not worth a candle. They did absolutely nothing to help, and I fail to see how they are value for money. Like so many others, they really need someone to take a good look at what they actually do, but that just doesn’t seem to be happening.


        • A different Simon
          Posted August 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps you should play them at their own game ?

          (Associate it with a group they need to defend-ed) on it nobody will dare pull you up on a violation for fear of allegations of discrimination and breaching equality laws .

          We are all so conditioned into cowering to this sort of abusive authority that it’s easy to feel guilty , worried or a little bit naughty when you ignore a stupid law .

          I’ve worked with people who lived in the soviet bloc and it has scarred them for life to an extent that they have to be re-educated how to make decisions .
          I suppose that is the aim of our Prussian style state education system .

          There is only one way regulation and legislation is going and that’s is towards ever more of it .

          Why will nobody other than John , Michael Gove and few others stand up for liberty ?
          You can understand the desire for a totalitarian state from lefties but other than UKIP none of the political parties want to stand up for Liberty .

        • stred
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          Have you thought of strapping a small pram base to you chest? Not connected to the airframe and therefore clear of regulation. A tow might be necessary for take off.

    • oldtimer
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      I do not know if this still true, but there was a time not so long ago when a private flyer did not need third party insurance – unlike a car driver! It was unfortunate if he crashed on your house and he was uninsured. I assume this was one case where the risk was thought to be minimal – a not unreasonable thought. But it was sobering when brought to the attention of local residents underneath the flight path of the local flying school. The flying school promptly bought insurance to reassure the locals.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        An interesting thought OT. I have everything from Tiger Moths to Tri-stars whizzing over my roof. I love aircraft, and have designed quite a few radio-controlled ones in my time, but I’m not particularly enamoured by the prospect of a full-sized one damaging my property whilst uninsured. Perhaps this is another area where legislation has not been properly thought through?


  29. stred
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Slightly off subject, I have been impressed by the total absence of consideration for the tax paying motorist, since arriving back from a couple of thousand miles on the continent. We were met by our first late night slowing and lane narrowing in the UK, after midnight. The scene was of multiple flashing lights with police cars present, in order to deploy coning lorries. On the continent, they just park their flashing maintianance vehicles on the hard shoulder.

    On Friday around midday there was a queue to the Dartford ‘congestion’ tolls 10 miles long back to and beyond the Orpington junction. Today, Monday, at midday there was a 50 minute delay from beyond the M2 junction to the northbound tunnels. I had time to observe the new speed cameras installed at the point where the southbound traffic had just speeded up after long delays.

    Also, there was time to approximate the delays and work out costs for these, presumably thought unimportant by the Ministry of Transport and Treasury.

    There are 14 toll stations and the average passing time was around ten seconds per vehicle, resulting in 84 vehicles per minute x 50 minute delay= 4200 vehicle/ minutes are lost per vehicle every minute, or 252,000 v min/hr. Let’s assume that everyone in the vehicles earns the average of around £500 per 35 hour week, or £14/hour. (In fact, many lorry drivers earn nearly double this, builders around £750 and professionals sometimes much more).

    252,000 v min/hr is lost, or 4200 vehicle hours. The cost of this is therefore 4200x £14 =£58800/ hr. The congestion at this time of year lasts from about 6.30am until 6.30pm = 12 hours. So the daily cost is 12 x 58800 = £705,600 one way. Double this for the long delays from the north and the cost is £1,411,200.
    And this does not allow for the really bad days when the delay is over 2 hours, not the quick 50 minutes, or the higher pay rates of most drivers.

    On the other hand HMG must need the money. If 84 vehicles pass per minute and the average toll, between a smaller number of lorries and more cars, is £2.50, the taking per minute are £210 = £12600 per hour and £1,51,200 per congested day. Extra takings are made during non congested times. Double this to £3m for both directions.

    It appears that HMG is keen to take £3m in taxation less tolling costs, while costing the toll users around half this amount in lost time plus the cost of wasted fuel. Is this a sensible way to operate, when a small increase in fuel duty would take the same amount?

    • stred
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Silly me. In my hurry to see a builder, I put the comma in the wrong place. The amount in tolls should have been£151,200 for the congested 12 hours. So They only make £300, 000 approx both ways. I thought the figure for the cost to drivers was perhaps wrong, but have multiplied various ways and the answer comes out the same. The cost to the motorist for 12 hours congestion daily is therefore be 4.7 times the tolls collected. Could the more numerate contributors check this, as it is difficult to believe.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink


      I used to work out things like this, now I do not bother.

      The sad fact is we are an overcrowded Island, with congested roads, and not enough housing.

      The solution:
      Let us open the doors and allow anyone in who wants to come from the EU.

      We can even give them grants to go to our Universities, we provide free medical care and some even get Benefits.
      Indeed so generous are we, that we will even pay for kids if the family still live in their own country.

      Cannot afford the rent, not a problem, any house you like qualifies for housing benefit, indeed many houses are better than even Mp’s can afford (that says something)

      To cap it all, when they have taken all the jobs from the locals, they can send their earnings out of the country back home, so it does not even circulate into the system or do any good here.

      The government are not worried about any of this, so why should you complain about wasting your time sitting in traffic jams.

      They simply want your money, not your ideas or complaints !!!

      • stred
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        A devilish idea. They have started retrospective taxation, so how about reversing it. Taxpayers should be able to sue civil servants for retrospective unreasonable economic damages. Deduct them from their pensions and sack them for incompetence. Silly thought, but perhaps enough to make them think twice before messing us about.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        Amen! This makes me spit feathers!


    • lifelogic
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 3:52 am | Permalink

      Exactly – but logic is not the governments strong point ever more growth in government and taxation is.

  30. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Oh dear. A real catalogue of failure. This is beginning to drive me nuts.

    What are we getting – 5 years of complete nothingness between Labour governments.

    Mr. Redwood – can’t you DO anything to shake things up? This is already way beyond a joke. You have nothing to lose – you’re not in the cabinet – why not go out on a limb and try to shake them up a bit. Your party is likely to be consigned to the dustbin of history at the next election if you carry on like this. For heaven’s sake give us poor, normal taxpayers some party to support. At the moment it’s a question of who can tax the most and deliver the least.

  31. Ashley
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    All I see here is a searing indictment on the impotence of our government to shape our national destiny in the face of EU diktats. Westminster should be ashamed at this abhorrent failure.

  32. Vanessa
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I would say this was downright lies. We are not allowed to change EU legislation not even by a comma or full stop nor can it be repealed. If you know about Acquis Communautaire which is embedded in all the Treaties this means forward and onwards never backwards.
    It is typical of MPs to try and tell us they have it all under control, they have no control over anything sent by the EU.

  33. merlin
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    With the exception of certain individuals within the Conservative and Labour party, all 3 main parties are following the federalist EU line along with the 3 party leaders. At the next election in 3 years time, does anybody seriously believe that anything will be any different, I doubt it. This means in practice over the next 3 years more EU control and less self government, this is the the future for the governance of the UK and nobody will do anything about it. The only party that could has no power, but I can understand why real Conservatives should wish to support UKIP, there has to be a beginning and maybe this is it, but once again, we will have to wait 3 years which is an extremely long time under occupied Europe.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      I’d love to see the LibLabCon stranglehold on our politics broken. But UKIP is not the party to do it. Alas a vote for them, no matter how much you agree with their policies, is a vote for a Labour government.

      Such is the nature of our wonderful first past the post electoral system where who governs us is decided by the votes of a few hundred thousand people in a handful of marginal constituencies. What a democracy we have.

  34. Iain Gill
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    I know what you mean, and bureaucracy and needless red tape certainly do need to be cut. However I doubt whether you intend for all regulations to be stripped away and we return to children climbing chimneys and so on, which is an extreme version of how some of this comes across. We need streamlined regulation, aimed pragmatically at getting the best results for the least public spend. Multiple regulators could be merged into fewer regulators, much of their core skillset is the same. I am as frustrated as you at the lack of progress from the current government.
    My own reflections on the current regulatory regime is how ineffective it is. I actually agree with what much of the Data Protection Act is trying to do, stopping citizens personal data being moved outside of Europe into states with widespread corruption and few legal protections etc is in my view a good idea. My main gripe with the information commissioner is that they have failed completely to bring any of the obvious serious breaches of the act to court, far too lenient even when serious breaches have been proven. It brings the whole thing into disrepute.
    So the public doesn’t get good value from the money it spends on regulation.
    I don’t actually think the regulations are that much of a problem for big internationals, the UK is reasonable internationally competitive in regulation terms for them – in fact probably too lenient across all spheres of regulation. On the other hand for small businesses the whole legal and regulatory framework is out of proportion. There needs to be “regulation lite” book written in simple English for any small business owner to understand and positive help to them for those that want to play by the rules but find it too complex. If we cannot capture it in such a book then its too complex and needs simplifying.
    But my biggest feedback is how this sounds electorally. To the guy working in a manual job he needs the protection of guards on the machines, hard hats, ear defenders, steel toed boots, good fire exits, and so on, all things that have been fought for through the years, as much of a Conservative voter he may want to be he doesn’t want to see unsafe working practises and a race to the bottom to compete with other nations with no safety regs. Nor does he want his bank details being passed around corrupt workers in Mogadishu or wherever. So you need to get that part of the message right to allay any genuine fears folk will have when they see messages like yours here.
    We need to be much cleverer too, just like the old days when they couldn’t prove Al Capone was a gangster they locked him up for tax evasion. The real bad guys in society are generally breaking the norms of society in multi-dimensional ways across all fields of regulation, we could do a lot better at attacking some of the worst ones in coordinated ways.
    Good luck!

    Reply: I want fewer rules but I do not want less safe factories. The danger of too much box ticking regulation is people think it has taken care of risks,when it has diverted attention from the b ig risks. Just look at the way financial regulation mushroomed in the last decade, and how we had a b igger mess than ever before despite or because of it.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      John as a result of these regulations fatal injuries have been reduced, work related injuries have been reduced, and violence at work is lower. What big risks are being missed because of the current regulations?

  35. Jon
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Set against the £14 billion its a very long way to go. Is it petering out, loosing its impetus?
    Across the industry over the years money laundering regs have cost billions, just how much have those additional tasks carried out have identified ML activities beyond normal police work? Keep the pressure on John because money laundering some 88 year old biddy’s savings that have been building in a UK firm for the last 50 years is just mad.

  36. oldtimer
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    OT: There is an interesting interview, in Der Spiegel Online, with Volker Kauder who is leader of Angela Merkel`s parliamentary group. It is interesting because it reveals his thinking – with much of which I think you would agree.

    It also appears that Greece not only requires two more years to implement its planned cuts; it also need more money. Herr Kauder is not sympathetic. e says Greece must make up its own mind whether to implement the existing plan or leave the EZ. The shortfall is said to result from reduced tax revenues. That sounds familiar.

    Among other things he says he does not want a United States of Europe; you cannot print (money) you way back to efficiency – that requires hard work. Our own political leaders should pay attention to such home truths.

  37. uanime5
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    To do so meant tackling some large areas of regulation like data protection and working time, and accepting that some of the dearest regulations were EU in origin which needed amendment or repeal.

    So the Coalition is planning to repeal laws that prevent companies selling personal data and forcing their employees to work more than 48 hours per week. I can’t see this being popular.

    Fortunately it’s illegal for a national Government to repeal or amend EU laws so there’s no chance of this happening. Thus employee rights are protected from the attacks by the Conservatives.

  38. peter geany
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    I think we are all agreed that the coalition has fail dismally on rolling back regulation, and I wouldn’t mind betting that where it has rolled it back is why it doesn’t matter.

    But in the end it not all about the EU, it’s about the useless mob in Westminster. We need regulations; we need them to protect the individual rights against big government and corporate excess. And the best way of protecting us against corporate excess is to ensure that regulations are written in such a way as to promote competition and be more rigorous against private monopoly. Very often these days our corporate collude with the authorities to write the regulations, which then will favour them at the expense of the small and medium competitor.

    No John the coalition hasn’t the slightest idea of what they need to do and so it follows they have made zero effective progress. Cameron and Osborne are toast I’m afraid, and I’m picking they will take the Tories down with them

  39. backofanenvelope
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Why not privatise de-regulation? The Civil Service are like turkeys, they won’t vote for Christmas. Bring in a private company and pay them by result.

    Posted June 8, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    ” He said that property rights were also sacred and that he had exercised due diligence, following all laws, when he purchased the site. In 2000, my mother entered into the same agreement, but now that she’s no longer in office, my family and I will continue to support you. The lack of democracy in the Middle East is further compounded by tribal groupings that have considerable rivalry among themselves: Yemen has witnessed this first hand.

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  • By Week of Aug 14 – Aug 20 | US Daily Review on August 20, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    […] How is the government getting on with deregulation? In the Economic Policy Review  presented to Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne in opposition, we  recommended 33 specific items of deregulation. We also recommended that a Minister be responsible for constructing regulatory budgets, with a view  to cutting the total cost of regulations for business by £14 billion a year by the fifth year of a new government. […]

  • About John Redwood

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

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