Sunday, 20 March 2011

"... years of human endeavour.." at risk from Pickles

 Polly Toynbee on the proposed reductions in regulations:

"Here in this litany of laws designed to improve citizens' lives is the record of human endeavours to live well together, not to cheat each other, to trust the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat. The smog before the Clean Air Act gave me constant bronchitis as a young child. Bathing water regulations make swimming a pleasure. Flood water management holds back the worst for millions of homes. The Rent (Agriculture) Act gives security to farm tenants. The 1936 Public Health Act makes councils provide mortuaries – or shall we use Tesco's freezers?
Toy (safety) regs stop babies being poisoned by lead paint. Weights and measures acts mean we trust what we buy. Shall we scrap nutritional standards for school meals, again? Who needs a transport act that sees councils maintain railway and waterway bridges?
In all these everyday things is the weft and weave of government, unseen public servants going about their business behind the scenes, inspecting food hygiene, making roads safer, dealing with rubbish, checking sewers, protecting wildlife and the countryside, making telecommunications work, keeping the avarice of private companies in check while protecting children, the mentally ill and old people. All this, says Pickles, is too "burdensome". Soon there will be much less of it."

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