back to article opens Red Tape Challenge regulation-slash website

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 …


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  1. The Alpha Klutz


    I find a simple baseball bat deals with those pesky ice cream men quite well.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I scream

      Really? To get rid of our last one, we had to cross the streams of four proton packs!

  2. The BigYin

    How about...

    ...less websites that are simply a PR stunt?

    If the government does not already know what red tape is driving industry nuts (due to the various lobbying groups), then the government is incompetent.

    If the government actually wants to ask the great unwashed, then this site is completely the wrong way to do it and they won't get answers they want. e.g. the public might want the ridiculous brake/swerve exercise from the motorcycle test scrapped; the public won't give to craps (or possibly even know) about strange sales regulations and what have you.

    Actually, here's some red tape I'd like to see: all EU committees must publish public accounts and a public record of meetings. EU accounts must be signed-off by an auditor and publicly available.

    That, you can be sure, will lead to greater costs savings across the EU that soem snazzy site and a bit of PR puffery.

    1. DR

      they might well wantg brake swerve gotten rid of

      but they can't because it was brought in in response to the EU wide driving license regulations

      it happens on closed roads (read car parks/airfields) in this country because the mandated speed for the brake/swerve/emergency stop is 50KMph... whilst in this country most residential roads where these test would take place have a 30MPH speed limit, (50KPH = 32MPH). and performing the test on a faster road (say a 40MPH road) would likely mean that road was more crowded, with much faster traffic on it anyway.... in short not safe to be testing the as yet unqualified...

      so ridiculous it may be, driven up the cost of the motorcycle test it may well have... but removable by this scheme it won't be because it's an EU legislation thing.

      1. The BigYin


        No, actually, it isn't an EU thing at all. It was an "EU interpretation" thing perpetrated by the last shower of raging incompetents as the EU did not explicitly demand the test be conducted the way the DSA decided to do it.

        Love to cite a source, but of course I can't find it now.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Be fair

      "If the government does not already know what red tape is driving industry nuts (due to the various lobbying groups), then the government is incompetent."

      You seem to be arguing that the government shouldn't have a public consultation because they can just listen to lobby groups. Not all companies would be in such lobby groups and you so you make the assumption that they either do not matter or are somehow represented by lobby groups to which they have no input.

      "If the government actually wants to ask the great unwashed, then this site is completely the wrong way to do it"

      Do you have a better alternative? A website seems like a fairly cheap, easily-accessible method to me. Even if it's not a great method, at least they're trying.

  3. Richard IV

    Careful what you wish for

    Gosh, let's all look forward to special case reasoning as to why various subsections of business should be let off doing what everyone else has to.

    Granted, it's stupid that ice cream vans should have special regulations just for them, but this stems from making them a special case when it comes to noise pollution. As far as I am aware, they are the only mobile businesses that feel the need to sonically advertise their movement through a neighbourhood to such a degree. Grocers and the like who go round selling out of a van manage perfectly well without the use of a klaxon. A couple of toots of the horn on each street they stop in does the job. Getting rid of the special case could mean things get rather quieter.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge


      "A couple of toots of the horn on each street they stop in does the job."

      Yes, maybe it does, but it is illegal (or unlawful?), and hence they should not do it. Maybe there should be special regulation for them too?

      Where I live, we get a van around everyday with a PA system on the roof, driving around constantly blabbing stuff out. Yesterday it was to tell you to bring out your knives for mobile sharpening; I think that today is "any old iron" scrap day...

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Where do you live, in a museum?

  4. neil 15

    Less Regulation...

    works very well, I cite the banking industry as an example. Oh lets cut H&S regulation (or make a good Tory soundbite instead) while we are at it, arguably the only thing we lead the world at having one of the lowest industrial and work related accident rates.

    1. The Alpha Klutz

      having an industrial accident

      is kinda difficult when you don't have an industry.

    2. David Dawson

      Health and Safety

      Indeed, the health and safety regs were designed to prevent accidents in industry and construction. Thats certainly a good thing.

      The problem is that they are now being used to justify preventing people putting books on high shelves in offices and other ridiculous things in all walks of life.

      That isn't a good thing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "The problem is that they are now being used to justify preventing people putting books on high shelves in offices and other ridiculous things in all walks of life."

        That is a problem but it is not the result of the legislation.

        It is the result of the fear employers have that simple minded employees will break themselves and then be able to sue the employer out of his or her underwear.

        Solving the problem isnt removing the legislation - which just opens up more avenues for employer behaviour leading to serious accidents.

        One thing to bear in mind, is that most (admittedly not all) legislation is brought in, in response to something "bad" happening. When the laws work and stop it happening any more, we seem to think that its a good idea to remove the legislation. Its a bit like saying lets drop those pesky drink drive laws because hardly anyone drink drives anymore....

        This is a particularly bad time to remove legislation around H&S because we are in a period where the employee is an easily replaceable commodity. If you break one, there are five more waiting outside to do the job.

      2. John Murgatroyd

        They're not being used

        to stop people putting books on high shelves, they're being MISUSED.

        Altering the regulations will not stop the misuse, which is part-and-parcel of excessive risk prevention by people with poor, or no, knowledge of the H&S at work (etc) act.

        But then....the deregulation is not to do with excessive H&S it is to do with cost, specifically employers cost/s.

        Incidentally, the largest cost to employers is the Working Time Directive....not because it actually costs them money to implement it, but because it stops them working people for 80 hours a week. 10 year cost: 17.8 billion

        Burdens-to-Business: (pdf file)

        And while the WTD is operated as part of the H&S act it is basically of EU origin...and cannot be altered or removed.

        The next one down is The Vehicle Excise Duty (Reduced Pollution) (Amendment) Regulations 2000. 10 year cost about 10 billion. EU as well, so unassailable.

    3. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Less regulation.

      That's actually very easy to achieve.

      Strangle your industry with red tape. Hey presto, no industry = no industrial accidents.

  5. BristolBachelor Gold badge


    Ofcom will ask for a reduction in the red tape that means that they should police the airwaves, or make sure they are properly used, or act fairly, or...

  6. npo4

    The rules are there for a reason...

    We did kinda make those rules so, people wouldn't break them and companies can't get away with doing certain things

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      no shit

      any other interesting entries in the dictionary?

  7. Jacqui


    revoke any legislation that has not been sucessfully prosecuted in the past ten years.

    1. John G Imrie

      Even better

      Add a 10 year sunset clause to all legislation, which can be extended by 10 year chunks only after winning a vote in both houses of parliament.

      With any luck MP's will be so tied up extending their favorite bit of legislation they won't have time to put any more crap on the statute books.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton


      "revoke any legislation that has not been sucessfully prosecuted in the past ten years."

      A risky strategy if ever there was one. Although I suppose treason is a bit useless now but its a stretch to say that because a law hasnt been broken for an arbitrary period of time it is pointless.

      Isnt the idea of passing laws that it stops people doing the thing which is now considered "bad?"

  8. Harry

    So, no regulations ...

    ... ice cream vans can come round at 4am and triple their volume.

    Yes, there are probably regulations that can be simplified or abolished altogether. But most of them do exist for a good reason.

    Perhaps more useful would be to rewrite regulations which are needed in plain, brief, simple English that most people -- public and business alike -- can understand.

    The law should exist for the benefit of the citizens. It should not be written in a fuzzy and archaic language which serves only to generate income for lawyers.

  9. jimbarter

    Ice Cream Tunes

    My local Ice cream van plays the theme tune from "The good the bad and the ugly", it's a rough area mind...

  10. Elmer Phud

    Sounds familiar?

    Didn't the previous mob come up with a similar scheme and didn't the current mob pour scorn on such things as they are useless and yet anther example of an unwanted website?

    And what happened to the Cones Hotline? Then there were Major's crap 'charters' that gave the impression of some sort of local autonomy but actually gave nothing.

    It's another Daily Mail moaners site where they can do the on-line equivalent of farting in the bath.

    The worst possible outcome is that they'll use this as some form of justification to bugger things up further - well, it's what the public asked for, isn't it?

    1. Harry

      "they'll use this as some form of justification"

      As always, if the concensus agrees with whatever they've already decided to do then they will write a song and dance about how they're listening to the public, while completely ignoring anything that conflicts with their original preconceptions.

      As always, the decisions will be made according to which vested interest manages to "shout" the loudest, provide the biggest income or bribes or just be best friends with those who make the decisions. It won't have much if anything to do with merit.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        +1 internets for Harry

        Well said.

        As with the online petitions, if 10 people agree with the government its a sign that Her Majesties Government LISTENS TO THE PEOPLE!, however if 600,000 disagree then its a case of "sorry, you dont fully understand what is involved."

        Like the trickery which got the PCG onside over IR35, and the shameful way Nick Clegg has toed the Tory line, it seems the Government policy is to make people think they are being "invovled" in the process to disarm them from objecting to the railroading.

  11. Harry

    "And what happened to the Cones Hotline?"

    Ah, we're back on ice cream vans already?

  12. Guy Herbert


    But the problem is often with regulation that is overbroad, trivially easy to break, and unduly easy to prosecute.

  13. David 39

    To Make life good again

    There should be legislation in place that allows me to safe guard my belongings

    If, for example, some toe rag is in my house uninvited and trying to make off with my TV I should be allowed to do what I want to that person, and not be arrested/sued.

    If the toe rag cuts himself on the window he just smashed to enter my property I should not be liable.

    If I stab (not kill ) him whilst he is tieing up my family and threatening violence, I should not have to answer to anyone.

    To much bullshit protecting the bad in this country.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      There is a bit of a myth about what you can and cant do, and what legal action will result. There are a lot more instances of people defending their property than there are related prosecutions.

      You can use reasonable force to prevent the loss of belongings but, yes, the definition of reasonable might rest on the judgement of 12 of your peers. This tends to put paid to people who want to rape and torture some youngster who tried to have off with a garden ornament.

      Personally, I think that is a good thing.

      If you stab and and even kill and intruder who is threatening your family with potentially lethal violence then you actually do have the ability to claim self defence. The police *should* investigate this to make sure you arent lying, but then what is wrong with that?>

      The flip side of all this is that these pesky laws stop me dragging someone off the street, claiming they broke in and then subjecting them to a period of degrading abuse before I kill them.

      Arent these laws terrible eh?

    2. Jolyon

      @David 39

      Couldn't agree more, almost every day I am left stood there, sabatier in hand, squealing in impotent rage at the unperforated toe rag who has my nearest and dearest bound and gagged, my respect for the law utterly preventing me from swinging my arm.

  14. John 98

    EU stuff (and Greensleeves)

    It might help if the UK gov. dropped its ideological objections to EU advertising 0800 number and other contact details in UK so the masses can talk to the folk in Brussels (who are polite and listen). Abolish gold plating and unenforced regs - also good, as would be a cost benefit analysis for new regs.

    But on the ice cream vans - it some idiot comes selling cornets at 2 am playing Greensleeves at 250 db I don't want the plod saying they can't stop him ...

  15. PrivateCitizen

    Propoganda Ministry

    How can people take this seriously?

    The government has tried this before (several times) and each time the opposition has said it was populist madness (2008 was most recent ISTR). It nearly always breaks down to astroturfing or even worse, the barking mad people who froth on Have Your Say, ranting about pointless issues.

    When people genuinely agree on a topic (ID cards for example) there is a response from number 10 apologising while basically saying "we dont want to do what you say." When a few hundred agree with some crackpot scheme, it is trumpeted as citizen democracy.

    By slicing this to market sectors is makes things even more confusing. How will they control opinions to be from people within the sector? How will they control for business trying to remove legitimate constraints on their behaviour? How will they administer any of this to make it even half decent?

    So much for cutting back government, this seems like a huge PFI contract for someone......

  16. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    So the idea is to blame europe when the 'Eu regulations' are less strict than the UK ones?

    New leader - same tories.

  17. Grahame 2
    Black Helicopters

    Big Business like Regulation

    A lot of regulation is brought in on the back of lobbying / advice from consultations with big companies (politicians tend to like help big business, you never know when a speech needs doing or non-exec position might come up you know...)

    Large companies like it because hiring a compliance team of say half a dozen it nothing in the grand scheme of things to them, but it effectively pushes small upstarts out of the business. For a good example look at what regulation the FSA has been putting forward.

  18. ShaggyDoggy

    "revoke any legislation that has not been sucessfully prosecuted in the past ten years."

    The idea of laws is that they PREVENT people from doing Bad Things.

    Therefore a successful law will NEVER be prosecuted.


  19. Nuke
    Thumb Down

    Poor Ice Cream Men

    Cameron is playing to the gallery. He mentions ice cream vans because they sound cuddly; after all they are for the kiddies aren't they? He implies that the poor ice cream men are denied a decent living because they are having to sit up all night studying the regulations about their chimes.


    Well, here is a suprise : ice cream van men do not build thier own chime units. They buy them from a specialist manufacturer and fit them to their vans, if the van is not already so fitted by the coachbuilder. "Worrying" about the regulations is done by the chime unit maker. So what? As far as the maker are concerned the "regulations" are just part of the spec to which they are made. All manufactured things are made to a spec, and they will have to decide on some volume and melody anyway. What is the problem exactly?

    And forget about ice cream men being cuddly. They fight over their franchises and pitches like medieval warlords. In Bristol a few years ago the "Ice Cream Wars" they were having were the local paper headlines for a while. Not quite at the level reached in Prohibition Chicago, but getting on that way. Chime regulations were the last thing in their minds.

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