The burden of regulation

It's not going to be all that much of a surprise around here that there is a burden of regulation. It's also not going to be all that much of a surprise, here among proper liberals, that the burden of some regulation is worth bearing. We can argue (as indeed we do) about whether it should be consumers in the marketplace that do the regulating, bureaucrats in offices which do, the State through law or regulation.

An honest appreciation of the world (which we around here are the masters of, of course) would say that there are times, places and situations where each have their place. That murder is regulated by law and the courts seems sensible, that whether you purchase bananas or apples as part of your five a day is regulated by you as the consumer similarly seems sensible similarly.

So let us think of something which is not sensible, which is insensible:

Indeed, on the subject of planning, since my return to Redrow some 11 months ago, I have been dismayed by the sheer levels of bureaucracy and red tape that have crept into the planning system. The list of documents required to accompany planning applications verges on the comical. Even the simplest of planning applications frequently takes many months to secure approval and indeed there are many examples where the months turn into years. It is reflective of the system that Redrow, as one of the UK's largest home builders, now spends more money on planning and planning related fees than it does on bricks.

Note that this is not the payments for planning permission: this is not either the cost of acquiring land that can be built upon, nor is it the slice that government takes for having granted such permission.

This is purely the cost of the paperwork required to deal with the bureaucracy. The fees to the pencil pushers.

And the cause of the shortage of affordable housing in the UK is? Yes, quite, it costs more for the paperwork than it does for the bricks to build it.

Our new Lords and Masters, this new government, they really can make us better off, can't they? The Bonfire of the Bureaucracy, starting in 3...2...1...