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UK.gov opens Red Tape Challenge regulation-slash website

Cameron demands deregulated ice-cream van jingles

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The Coalition government has decided that a website can make us free – free, that is, of foolish red tape stifling British biz and productivity.

Prime Minister David Cameron says:

"Where regulation is well-designed and proportionate, it should stay. But it is hard to believe that we need government regulations on issues such as ice-cream van musical jingles. That's why I want us to be the first government in modern history to leave office having reduced the overall burden of regulation, rather than increasing it.

"Be in no doubt: all those unnecessary rules that place ridiculous burdens on our businesses and on society – they must go, once and for all."

Cameron's Lib Dem henchman Vince Cable, biznovation minister, added his exhortations.

"I urge you to visit the website and take a few minutes to tell us the regulations you deal with on a daily basis."

At the moment the website is devoted to red tape strangling the retail industry: then it will move on hospitality, then road transport, etc etc. The idea is that everyone should pitch in when it's the turn of their sector.

There will also be "cross cutting themes" deemed to run through all industries: employment law; pensions; company law; equalities; health and safety; and environment legislation.

The Red Tape Challenge applies only to British red tape, not that emanating from the EU:

The UK government cannot scrap EU regulations, but we do recognise the burden they impose. That is why we are giving the public an opportunity to comment on how EU legislation has been implemented in the UK on this website. We will then review any instances of 'gold-plating' – where the UK has gone beyond the minimum required by the EU legislation ...

We are pushing the European Commission to start by publishing the cost of planned regulations and setting a target to reduce the overall burden of EU regulation.

Given that Brussels can issue more red tape even if the UK manages a net reduction in regulation, Mr Cameron's lofty goal of reducing the overall regulatory burden by 2015 may be hard to achieve. ®

Bootnote

There are several issues that affect the ability of frozen-treat pimps to blast tinkling melodies from their vehicles, ranging from protection against noise pollution to chimes which infringe on musical copyright – not to mention rules regulating the movements of the van itself. The rules on ice-cream vans were approved in 1982 – under S71 of the Control of Pollution Act of 1974. See here.

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