But the way we analyse and discuss our plight is crazily upside down. The Department for Business, which does have some interesting ideas for how to promote innovation, is browbeaten by the wider politics into making it a priority to take the \”burden\” off business, allegedly to stimulate growth. Yet on most benchmarks, the UK is already the most lightly regulated member of the EU. It is absurd to characterise regulation and red tape as principal sources of the UK\’s ills. This is voodoo economics.
You will have noticed how EU growth rates are rather lower than growth rates outside the EU?
The UK might be more lightly regulated than some other parts of the EU, but the level of regulation all over the EU might still be too high.
Just one little example. I enquired about setting up a little operation in an area of high unemployment in the UK. It was only an idea, just a , \”what if we could raise the money to do that?\” sort of thing. Small, on a business park already dedicated (indeed, under one plan or another, defined as a centre for) to the basic technology. Off the shelf parts, small operation, looking to process perhaps 1 or 2 tonnes of material a day. Known technology, just applying it to a different mineral. What would be called a pilot plant, the stage between playing with test tubes and running a full commercial operation, you know the sort of thing, this works in theory now, do the real world economics work?
People to do it available, money certainly findable, factory space there, the killer was planning permission. Recall, this is a pilot plant, maybe 5 to 10 people total employment, off the shelf parts, known technology, on a business park dedicated to the basic technology. 12-18 months for planning permission. So we\’d have to go get the finance to have a team available for 18 months before they could actually do anything.
Bit of a killer that. And you want to say that regulation isn\’t slowing down British industry?