Headlines: September 18th, 1998

Britain is in danger of becoming too keen on regulation as a means of righting all its ills, according to the first annual report of the task force set up to advise on new laws.

In the Better Regulation Task Force’s first annual report, Chairman Lord Haskins said the Government must strike a proper balance between using regulation to minimise dangers, and the likely restrictions on freedom and cost-effectiveness of enforcing new rules.

He said: “On the one hand there is strong public pressure to ensure that unfit persons do not work with children, and are not employed as bouncers or taxi drivers. On the other, there are concerns that over-reaction is contributing to the lack of male role models working with young people, and that the creation of formal qualifications might exclude excellent candidates from consideration for certain jobs.”

The task force’s programme over the coming year includes a review of self-regulation as an alternative to state intervention, anti-discrimination legislation and the scope of the new Financial Services Authority.

A subgroup is also reviewing how the experience of people working as enforcers can feed into new policy to ensure that it is workable and affordable.