Freedom from big retailer monopolies

 

While large chains provide benefits in the form of lower prices and more services, they also have their drawbacks.  Smaller, independent stores are unable to compete and so are disappearing.  This will lead to less choice and less innovation for the consumer.  Our country will also loose these characteristic shops and see them entirely replaced with a few monotonous chains.

Big chains should be encouraged in some areas, such as out of town centres, as they lead to lower prices.  However smaller retailers need supporting.

There should be different tax brackets on the revenue for retailers based on their income.  This should be adjusted so that chains can still exist, but smaller stores can also lower their prices to compete.  

Why is this idea important?

 

While large chains provide benefits in the form of lower prices and more services, they also have their drawbacks.  Smaller, independent stores are unable to compete and so are disappearing.  This will lead to less choice and less innovation for the consumer.  Our country will also loose these characteristic shops and see them entirely replaced with a few monotonous chains.

Big chains should be encouraged in some areas, such as out of town centres, as they lead to lower prices.  However smaller retailers need supporting.

There should be different tax brackets on the revenue for retailers based on their income.  This should be adjusted so that chains can still exist, but smaller stores can also lower their prices to compete.  

Repeal the cartel offence (s.180 Enterprise Act 2002)

UK competition law provides for heavy fines for companies found to have formed cartels to fix prices, boycott competitors or share out markets (Competition Act 1998).  Individuals involved can be disqualified as directors – ruining any business career. 

In addition, however, the Labout Government decided to make it a criminal offence, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, for individuals to be engaged in cartel behaviour.  The offence is prosecuted by the Office of Fair Trading or Serious Fraud Office.

There is a strong case for that offence to be repealed.

 

 

Why is this idea important?

UK competition law provides for heavy fines for companies found to have formed cartels to fix prices, boycott competitors or share out markets (Competition Act 1998).  Individuals involved can be disqualified as directors – ruining any business career. 

In addition, however, the Labout Government decided to make it a criminal offence, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, for individuals to be engaged in cartel behaviour.  The offence is prosecuted by the Office of Fair Trading or Serious Fraud Office.

There is a strong case for that offence to be repealed.

 

 

Fossilised studentification

The HMO planning policy introduced by Labour as affects so called 'studentification' has already been reduced by this new government, but there are still Article 4 uses of the regulations that need to go.

This NIMBY policy creates 'fossilised studentifcation' in that once those who have a protected monopoly in an area for their own HMO, they are not going to let it go back to family usage. It discourages competition and investment and creates a false market.

The regulation lacks other mechanisms – e.g., council or housing association accommodation designed for families, or proper investment in purpose built student accommodation.  Note that neither of these solutions incur a long term cost as they bring in rents too.  Universities, councils and investment enterprises are quite capable of addressing this themselves without artificial social engineering as is attempted by these regulations.

It also disadvantages home owners who wish to let out their home on a periodic or medium term basis. This restriction can actually be a disincentive for families to move into an area.  It also affects house prices in a way that is unfair to families – lowering the price by restricting the sales possibilities in an area where adjacent properties are fossilised into being HMO lets by this regulation.

The term 'studentification' is a pejorative which is underserved.  The argument that the area goes quiet when student leave is not much of an argument.  It probably originates with a few shop owners who do quite nicely when the students are there, but want a bit more business when they are not. Anyway,  it's nice when it goes quiet!

This policy is ill-thought out and an undue interference.  Get rid of it please.  We don't need it.

Why is this idea important?

The HMO planning policy introduced by Labour as affects so called 'studentification' has already been reduced by this new government, but there are still Article 4 uses of the regulations that need to go.

This NIMBY policy creates 'fossilised studentifcation' in that once those who have a protected monopoly in an area for their own HMO, they are not going to let it go back to family usage. It discourages competition and investment and creates a false market.

The regulation lacks other mechanisms – e.g., council or housing association accommodation designed for families, or proper investment in purpose built student accommodation.  Note that neither of these solutions incur a long term cost as they bring in rents too.  Universities, councils and investment enterprises are quite capable of addressing this themselves without artificial social engineering as is attempted by these regulations.

It also disadvantages home owners who wish to let out their home on a periodic or medium term basis. This restriction can actually be a disincentive for families to move into an area.  It also affects house prices in a way that is unfair to families – lowering the price by restricting the sales possibilities in an area where adjacent properties are fossilised into being HMO lets by this regulation.

The term 'studentification' is a pejorative which is underserved.  The argument that the area goes quiet when student leave is not much of an argument.  It probably originates with a few shop owners who do quite nicely when the students are there, but want a bit more business when they are not. Anyway,  it's nice when it goes quiet!

This policy is ill-thought out and an undue interference.  Get rid of it please.  We don't need it.

Amend all ‘child protection’ legislation so that it does not apply to teenagers

Teenagers are no longer little, sweet children who need mollycoddling and protecting as though they are still toddlers.  They are adolescents, who are in the process of turning into adults and thus need to learn to behave as adults and be guided into the adult world. 

Protecting them as ‘children’ encourages rebellion, as they are prevented from doing anything vaguely exciting, risky or grown up, or from taking any responsibility for themselves and so turn instead to illicit and often particularly dangerous thrills such as trespassing on railway lines, drug abuse or joy riding.

Teenage boys in particular, when treated like weaklings and starved of risk, danger, competition and responsibility are prone to acting ‘macho’ and being violent in order to prove they are tough and strong enough to be a ‘real man’.

Treating teenagers as ‘children’ also prevents them from gaining the vital skills and qualities required to face the real world, leaving those who do not rebel ill-equipped to face the challenges adult life when they are finally thrown out into the real world at 18 and suddenly told they are different now because they are an ‘adult’.

All ‘child protection’ legislation should therefore be amended so that it only applies to those aged under 13 years, as it does more harm than good when applied to teenagers.

Why is this idea important?

Teenagers are no longer little, sweet children who need mollycoddling and protecting as though they are still toddlers.  They are adolescents, who are in the process of turning into adults and thus need to learn to behave as adults and be guided into the adult world. 

Protecting them as ‘children’ encourages rebellion, as they are prevented from doing anything vaguely exciting, risky or grown up, or from taking any responsibility for themselves and so turn instead to illicit and often particularly dangerous thrills such as trespassing on railway lines, drug abuse or joy riding.

Teenage boys in particular, when treated like weaklings and starved of risk, danger, competition and responsibility are prone to acting ‘macho’ and being violent in order to prove they are tough and strong enough to be a ‘real man’.

Treating teenagers as ‘children’ also prevents them from gaining the vital skills and qualities required to face the real world, leaving those who do not rebel ill-equipped to face the challenges adult life when they are finally thrown out into the real world at 18 and suddenly told they are different now because they are an ‘adult’.

All ‘child protection’ legislation should therefore be amended so that it only applies to those aged under 13 years, as it does more harm than good when applied to teenagers.

Withdraw from EC renewed block exemption re UK beer tie

On 20th April 2010 the European Commission (EC) agreed to continue its "block exemption" on certain "vertical agreements" which could pose competition issues, including the "beer tie", until 2022. Effectively the UK's compliance with this EC regulation will ensure the survival until at least 2022 of the national disgrace "beer tie" inflicted on UK public houses by UK pubcos and national and regional brewers. The UK "beer tie" is a major cause of the alarming closure of UK pubs (currently an average of six pub closures per day) and inflates the retail price of a pint of beer to the consumer by almost £1 per pint.

I cannot recommend strongly enough that the UK government urgently legislate to exempt the UK from compliance with the aforementioned EC directive in relation to the "beer tie" and thereby create a competitive business environment for UK pub tenants whilst also benefitting UK consumers. Whilst the "beer tie" may in the distant past have been a mutually beneficial arrangement for pub tenants, consumers and pubcos alike, it is very apparent that the pubcos and brewers have distorted it so much over the years that it now clearly pernicious, inflationery and anti-competitive – quite apart from being a restrictive practice otherwise illegal elsewhere in UK business. Both the EC and OFT have failed to appreciate this drastic change (despite the BISC's recent highly critical review of the "beer tie") although the OFT are now having to consider an appeal from CAMRA who I hope will ultimately refer the "beer tie" to the Competition Commission. However by the time these quangos wake up how many more UK pubs will have closed and thereby whole communities lost? The disappearance of sociable places of enjoyment (already suffering from the removal of the "two in a bar" live entertainment licence – which should be reinstated asap) will doubtless add further to the social problems in the UK in enforcing yet greater insularity by the population in becoming a nation of "couch potatoes".

FYI I am not employed in the UK pub trade but I am an independent accountant, concerned consumer and very worried UK citizen.

Why is this idea important?

On 20th April 2010 the European Commission (EC) agreed to continue its "block exemption" on certain "vertical agreements" which could pose competition issues, including the "beer tie", until 2022. Effectively the UK's compliance with this EC regulation will ensure the survival until at least 2022 of the national disgrace "beer tie" inflicted on UK public houses by UK pubcos and national and regional brewers. The UK "beer tie" is a major cause of the alarming closure of UK pubs (currently an average of six pub closures per day) and inflates the retail price of a pint of beer to the consumer by almost £1 per pint.

I cannot recommend strongly enough that the UK government urgently legislate to exempt the UK from compliance with the aforementioned EC directive in relation to the "beer tie" and thereby create a competitive business environment for UK pub tenants whilst also benefitting UK consumers. Whilst the "beer tie" may in the distant past have been a mutually beneficial arrangement for pub tenants, consumers and pubcos alike, it is very apparent that the pubcos and brewers have distorted it so much over the years that it now clearly pernicious, inflationery and anti-competitive – quite apart from being a restrictive practice otherwise illegal elsewhere in UK business. Both the EC and OFT have failed to appreciate this drastic change (despite the BISC's recent highly critical review of the "beer tie") although the OFT are now having to consider an appeal from CAMRA who I hope will ultimately refer the "beer tie" to the Competition Commission. However by the time these quangos wake up how many more UK pubs will have closed and thereby whole communities lost? The disappearance of sociable places of enjoyment (already suffering from the removal of the "two in a bar" live entertainment licence – which should be reinstated asap) will doubtless add further to the social problems in the UK in enforcing yet greater insularity by the population in becoming a nation of "couch potatoes".

FYI I am not employed in the UK pub trade but I am an independent accountant, concerned consumer and very worried UK citizen.

Scrap Farm Subsidies

Farm Subsidies hark back to the era just after the war when there were severe food shortages.  We no longer live in that world and farm subsidies are no longer needed.

They also cost Billions each year that could be saved. 

Why is this idea important?

Farm Subsidies hark back to the era just after the war when there were severe food shortages.  We no longer live in that world and farm subsidies are no longer needed.

They also cost Billions each year that could be saved. 

Review Mandatory Firearms sentences

As a competitive target shooter and club secretary, I am really worried about mandatory sentences for firearms offences.  It would be all to easy to commit a simple offence – like accidentally dropping a round of ammunition in my gun-bag and therefore not locking it away properly, or picking up a box of ammunition left on the range by another shooter (if you are not permitted to hold that calibre of ammunition, then that too is an offence, even though it's the sensible thing to do). Other 'offences' could include being passed ammunition and/or gun spares by the widow of a deceased member (again, if you are not entitled to hold that calibre of ammunition it is an offence, and the gun spares could include components that nowadays would have to be entered on a Firearms Certificate, but years ago did not). There are a great many other examples, but I think the above is sufficient to illustrate the point.

Any of these currently require a mandatory 5-year jail sentence, which is horribly punitive and as a bona-fide target shooter (and no threat to law and order) is utterly unreasonable.

Regards – Richard Knight.

Don't get me started on Tony Blair taking "Guns off the Streets" – a campaign that decimated my sport with no affect whatsoever on illegal users of firearms.  

Why is this idea important?

As a competitive target shooter and club secretary, I am really worried about mandatory sentences for firearms offences.  It would be all to easy to commit a simple offence – like accidentally dropping a round of ammunition in my gun-bag and therefore not locking it away properly, or picking up a box of ammunition left on the range by another shooter (if you are not permitted to hold that calibre of ammunition, then that too is an offence, even though it's the sensible thing to do). Other 'offences' could include being passed ammunition and/or gun spares by the widow of a deceased member (again, if you are not entitled to hold that calibre of ammunition it is an offence, and the gun spares could include components that nowadays would have to be entered on a Firearms Certificate, but years ago did not). There are a great many other examples, but I think the above is sufficient to illustrate the point.

Any of these currently require a mandatory 5-year jail sentence, which is horribly punitive and as a bona-fide target shooter (and no threat to law and order) is utterly unreasonable.

Regards – Richard Knight.

Don't get me started on Tony Blair taking "Guns off the Streets" – a campaign that decimated my sport with no affect whatsoever on illegal users of firearms.