Legal & Finance: Red Tape Tsar's Whitehall Blast Is a Good Thing, Says City Lawyer

The Birmingham Post (England), May 31, 2002 | Go to article overview

Legal & Finance: Red Tape Tsar's Whitehall Blast Is a Good Thing, Says City Lawyer


A public dispute between the Government's new red tape tsar and the Department of Trade and Industry should be good news for regulation-swamped businesses, according to a lawyer with the Birmingham office of DLA.

The comments from Stephen Bottley, an associate with the law firm, follow claims from David Arculus, also boss of Midlands water group Severn Trent, that 'civil servants do not understand business'.

He then placed himself on a collision course with Whitehall by suggesting that officials were overwhelming business with red tape because few had enough experience of working in the private sector.

Mr Bottley said: 'Mr Arculus' comments, however controversial, are perfectly justified. The interests of government and business are simply not aligned.

'We just need him to follow up his tough words with some positive action. My worry is that his role might be an appointment for appointment's sake and he won't actually deliver any tangible benefits.

'I would hope that his position as tsar depends on him delivering some measurable results because we need to start seeing some action now.'

The tsar's comments drew an immediate response from the Government, which repeated its intention to place all senior DTI officials in business for at least a week every year.

Mr Bottley said: 'I would like to see business men and women seconded into Whitehall as well. …

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