Mind The Gap – in 2012

One of the major obstacles to restarting the economy is the burden of regulation that has been piled onto businesses (but obviously not onto the banks) meaning that compliance becomes a major headache for every small business.

The EU seems set to change all of that with a new suggestion from the European Parliament concerned with “establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for products.”

While these kind of efforts are laudable in that they aim to do some genuine good, it also illustrates the ever widening gap between everyday business reality in the current credit crunch recession depression and the world that public bodies exist in. My experience of working for the European Space Agency through the recession of the early 90’s illustrated just how insulated the public sector is from the grim economic reality, and as the Spectator reports, the gap is getting wider.

State workers now earn an average £62 a week more than their private sector counterparts  –  a 50 per cent increase in the differential since 2004.

However, by the time I left ESA in 1996 the recession was beginning to be felt with major cutbacks across the board just as the global economy was booming again. I suspect a similar thing will happen with nanotechnology and other funding, with governments only feeling cash strapped after a change of government realises just how much debt has been run up. Of course these fears could be offset by a real political commitment to science as we saw from Obama last month.

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