Monday, July 30, 2018

When Mark Littlewood was the Coalition's "Red Tape Tsar"

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The Tobacco Tactics site reminds us of a piece of recent political history:
In September 2011, Littlewood, wrote on his Daily Mail blog that the "Coalition’s war on red tape is just hot air". Less than two months later, Littlewood was appointed as an independent adviser to the government’s Red Tape Challenge for Disruptive Business Models. Speaking on his appointment, Littlewood said: 
The IEA has sought to educate people over recent months about the burden which red tape and regulation places on businesses in the United Kingdom. Holding back enterprise through unnecessary bureaucratic intervention lowers employment and stifles economic growth.
Questions were raised over Littlewood's independence. His position as a Red Tape advisor is unpaid, so his government work is effectively being subsidised by the IEA. 
In March 2012, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Smoking and Health asked Vince Cable, the Trade and Industry Minister, for “reassurances” that Littlewood would not be advising on tobacco-related matters because of his “clear conflict of interest”. 
The committee chairman, Stephen Williams MP, said in a letter, quoted in the Independent. 
He clearly has a pro-tobacco agenda and has campaigned for a number of years against regulation of the tobacco industry. He could not, therefore, fulfil the remit of an independent adviser to the Government. 
In a statement to the Independent newspaper, the Department for Business said that Littlewood would not be involved in any tobacco-related matter. 
On 24 March 2012, Vince Cable confirmed this in a letter. Cable wrote to Stephen Williams, the chair of the APPG, confirming that 
Mark Littlewood is an independent advisor to the team running the Disruptive Business Models theme of the Red Tape Challenge … Tobacco-related matters are not part of the Disruptive Business Models theme.
While excessive regulation can operate as a barrier to new producers entering a market, when the right talk of "red tape" they generally mean hard-won rights for the average worker.

We Liberals should defend those rights.

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