2005-04-06 15:47:54 UTC
Conservative leader Micheal Howard has outlined plans to cut the
burden of regulation for business and consumers, claiming that Labour
has created a culture of 'fat cat' regulators.
He warmed up by saying,
"Although business and consumers pay the cost of regulation in higher
prices and lower profits, there's a lot of money in regulation - but
that's for the regulators themselves. Mr Blair's Britain has created a
generation of 'fat regulators' - regulators paid high salaries from
your taxes and the fees they levy on British business."
Then he singled out Ofcom to highlight his point,
"Just take OFCOM - the communications regulator. Last year its payroll
was £13 million. Ten per cent of this went to OFCOM's board members.
One of them a former adviser to Mr Blair, was paid over a quarter of
million pounds - a potent symbol of bloated bureaucracy and regulation
that Mr Blair's Government has created.
OFCOM will cost £165 million this year. The total cost of the five
independent regulators which combined to create OFCOM was £115 million
- up from just £73 million in 1997 when Mr Blair came to power."
The Conservatives' plans aim to show how they would reduce regulation
and 'red tape' if they win an election. An incoming Conservative
administration would dump 11,000 pages of official guidance, while
1,300 performance targets would also be axed. More than 160 separate
public bodies will be abolished or cut down in size. And overall
action will be taken to remove the burden of bureaucracy in 63 areas
of national life.