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Editors Comment: All that legislation just means extra work for bosses

Less than a year into this session of parliament and Tony Blair is already a lame duck prime minister with the left wing of his party acting like socialists (albeit rich socialists) and flexing their muscles.
Editors Comment: All that legislation just means extra work for bosses
I should not be surprised if he were to leave government sooner rather than later so that Gordon Brown can be secure in his office before the next election. And, if David Cameron lives up to expectations, that result could be hard to call.

I was listening to the radio just before Christmas and I learned that about 90% of our legislation comes from Brussels.

Mr Blair can only call it on education and health which is why he seems to be always banging on about education and health.

What this means for the rest of us is that the legislative process will go on relentlessly.

Look at 2005, it was not only construction issues - domestic condensing boilers, building regs etc - which were to the fore but also mountains of other employment laws such as extra maternity leave, age, all sorts of pension fund legislation and health and safety issues.

And it will start again. Twice a year, during April and October, employment laws are enforced.

From April 1, parts of the Tax Credit Amendents comes into force.

Next day, the standard rates of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay are increased. On April 6 there are changes to the TUPE regulations to provide more comprehensive coverage for service contract operations, and that month also sees regulatory reform relating to fire safety in non-domestic premises, a number of pension regulations come into force and there are admendments to the PAYE scheme. The Race Relations Act is is also revised.

In October, there are the Employment Equality Regulations enabling employees to be considered for work after the age of 65. The national minimum wage is to be increased and regulations clarifying health and safety obligations in construction, including restructuring the requirements so they are grouped according to categories of duty holder, come into force. During the year, new laws on corporate manslaughter are to be introduced. This will create a new offence of corporate manslaughter which would allow organisations to be prosecuted for management failures that lead to deaths of employees and others. And there is more!

There must come a point where the owners of small firms and even some of those with bigger companies ask themselves why they are bothering with the ever-increasing burden of administration.

I looked long and hard to try to find something which would help small and not-so-small businesses but I failed. All these laws and regulations seem only to increase the bureaucratic burden. In the meantime, more and more manufacturing is going abroad.

Fat cat MPs and MEPs sit in ivory towers which cannot have any windows looking out on to the real world. Government says it wants entrepreneurs. But then all governments are famous for talking, although this one seems to stand out.


Paul Braithwaite, Editor
1 January 2006

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