In fact, just about every building and piece of land central government stands upon would make a pretty penny in reducing the deficit if sold off, eh? The Department of Health's Richmond House is on prime South London real estate within easy walking distance of Waterloo station and just an inexpensive cab fare to the West End. 30 luxury flats there would fetch a million each, I reckon.
Well, why not cash in? The country is in trouble, as we are constantly told, and it's not like government is doing anything useful for us any longer.
With regard to Richmond House, for example, this is where a very expensive and lengthy consultation on plain packaging of tobacco has been handled. There's a guy there called Andrew Black who has been directing millions of pounds of our taxes towards it. One of the central questions in the consultation was this one.
1. Which option do you favour?
● Do nothing about tobacco packaging (i.e., maintain the status quo for tobacco packaging);I, of course, amongst many others plumped for the first. Do nothing.
● Require standardised packaging of tobacco products; or
● A different option for tobacco packaging to improve public health.
However, the EU announced yesterday that the above question was a waste of all that taxpayer loot (empahses theirs).
● Labelling and Packaging: All cigarette and Roll Your Own packages must contain a combined picture and text health warning covering 75% of the front and the back of the package and must carry no promotional elements. The current information on tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide, which is perceived as misleading, is replaced by an information message on the side of the pack that tobacco smoke contains more than 70 substances causing cancer. Member States remain free to introduce plain packaging in duly justified cases.May as well pension off Black, make his tobacco control division redundant and save the wage bill. What's the point? If the EU are calling the shots and over-riding sovereign democracy, what's the point of them?
Now then, onto the MHRA, where are they housed? Wow! Buckingham Palace Road, now there's a prime bit of land if ever there was one. Forget closing libraries, sack the staff and sell that off for tens of millions too.
They held a consultation last year on e-cigs which concluded [pdf]:
The majority of importers and users of unlicensed electronic cigarettes were opposed to regulation by the MHRA, the latter fearing that this would mean an immediate ban on products currently available and that this could lead them back into smoking tobacco. Public health focussed organisations too raised concerns that an immediate move to medicines regulation would lead to potentially useful products being taken off the market and/or innovation being stifled."Who cares?", said the EU yesterday.
Nicotine Containing Products (e.g. electronic cigarettes) below a certain nicotine threshold are allowed on the market, but must feature health warnings; above this threshold such products are only allowed if authorised as medicinal products, like nicotine replacement therapies.Exactly the opposite of the MHRA's consultation conclusions, with the threshold being so low as to make e-cigs effectively useless [pdf page 9].
The proposal stipulates that NCP that either have a nicotine level exceeding 2 mg, a nicotine concentration exceeding 4 mg per ml or whose intended use results in a mean maximum peak plasma concentration exceeding 4 ng per ml may be placed on the market only if they have been authorised as medicinal products on the basis of their quality, safety and efficacy, and with a positive risk/benefit balance. NCP with nicotine levels below this threshold can be sold as consumer products provided they feature an adapted health warning.All that effort by MHRA was wasted; all the money spent in producing it was thrown down a gold-plated SW1 drain; every one of the multitude of responses was a waste of the public's time; and all of the concerns of public health groups have been ignored.
Brussels just puffed out its chest and roared "who's the Daddy!".
May as well scrap the system of business promoting grants too.
I have learned that British American Tobacco (BAT) will announce today the acquisition of CN Creative, a Manchester-based company which specialises in the development and production of non-combustible cigarettes.
CN is one of a small number of companies to have benefited from the Government's £200m Future Technologies Fund, which was set up by the last Labour administration to give British companies a stronger foothold in life sciences.What taxpayer funds the UK government giveth, the EU taketh away. It would seem that the task of identifying a UK politician with real power is as futile as trying to find a supermarket curry which is actually spicy.
Look. If we're serious about making savings to reduce the deficit, let's go for the big fish instead of snipping away around the edges. Westminster is completely irrelevant, as the EU proved with just one document, and might as well save its time and money by letting Brussels ride roughshod over anything they waste our cash on. Sell it all off and build a luxury hotel and casino instead, at least that way the staff within it will be productive rather than draining our pockets with their daft schemes.
Of course, there is always the option of keeping the empires in Whitehall and Westminster but - if so - it would require ceasing paying £40m per bastard day to the EU. Paying that and impotent regulators in the UK is patently absurd on yesterday's evidence.