A new report argues that by regulation, threat or legislation, the powerand intrusiveness of the state has grown steadily over the last fiveyears.’Statism by Stealth: New Labour, new collectivism’, published by theright-leaning Centre for Policy Studies, points to Governmentinterference on topics as broad as the shape of models on the catwalk,banks’ provision of services to people who are not customers, the amountof homework five year old children should do, the amount of red meat tobe served for school dinners and the insistence that employers must bansmoking in the office unless they install ventilation systems orsegregate smokers in a separate room.
The authors analyse 30 measures of private sector regulation, subsidy orsuch coercion as the imposition of social goals on business, and 21measures of public sector regulation or ‘coercion’, including 18 newplans imposed on LEAs and schools.
They say that while the objectives of many of these measures have merit,each represents greater state control. Taken together, they amount to amajor extension of government power and influence.
The report is available from the Centre for Policy Studies, 57 TuftonStreet, London SW1P 3QL or link to www.cps.org.uk