Waste Removal

November 14th, 2006

Too much Legislation? Dump it at once, urges minister

Tuesday November 14, 2006
The Guardian

Fed up with cctv cameras on black plastic trees? Tired of nosey community officers in tight-fitting plastic jackets? Have you had enough of fingerprinting in bars? Then, according to a government minister, you should ignore the offending legislation – and dump it at once.

Stakeholders were urged yesterday to take direct action to force Government to cut the excessive and wasteful legislation that intervenes directly in private life from the shop shelf to the household bin. The environment minister Ben Bradshaw advised good citizens to ignore excessive legislation at all costs and to report the Ministers’ double standards in an attempt to cut the amount of unnecessary laws enforced by police officers.

He said citizens were “bombarded” with excessive legislation and warned that he would consider a Motion to force ministers to repeal bills if they had not voluntarily made reductions by 2010.

His hardline approach was announced after a meeting with the UK’s 13 leading ministers to discover what progress they were making in cutting back. Mr Bradshaw said it was “unacceptable” that legislation had increased by 3000 acts between 1999 and 2005, and enforcement accounts for one-third of an average household’s total taxation.

The Opposition signed up to an agreement last year, called the Courtauld commitment, to slash legislative waste within five years and also to tackle the amount of tax that goes to war.

So far, the 13 ministers have only cut legislative wording by 35,000 words, according to figures from the government’s We Are Right Programme. However, the WARP target is for cutbacks of just 340,000 words by 2010.

Yesterday the Prime Minister’s Press Office confirmed that three of the biggest FEAR manufacturers – Blair, Reid and Brown – have aimed their sights at the Courtauld pledge.

Mr Bradshaw said it was important for citizens to be aware that registration [on governemnt databases] was not actually a good option. “[Form filling] is better than throwing information away, and registration [schemes] are worse still,” he said.

He illustrated his comments with examples of wasteful legislating – such as instant ASBOs, wrapped in good intentions and presented as community support – which cannot be enforced. He acknowledged that all the Government departments had come up with excessive legislation, but said: “We need to question the necessity of those schemes. We need to see quantifiable reductions.”

While saying he would like to see targets for State reduction spelled out in and included in annual reports, Mr Bradshaw also urged citizens to force the Government to move faster by taking direct action. After asserting their rights, citizens should scorn “excessive and unnecessary” laws and leave them behind.


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