IMPACT ASSESSMENTS: 1984 AND ALL THAT
I would not normally bother dealing with an impact assessment as they are a waste of time and money and no Government has ever let one deflect it from what it wants to do.
However the one attached to the Ministry of Justice’s Consultation Paper “Reforming mesothelioma claims” plumbs new depths, or reaches new heights, of Orwellian Doublespeak so it is worth a paragraph or two.
Under “Benefits to claimant representatives (eg lawyers)” it is stated, correctly, that lawyers will have less mesothelioma work. One might think that a disadvantage, a lack of a benefit, but far from it. Such lack of work will “free up claimant lawyer resource to be devoted to other profitable activities”.
Imagine the letter to your staff who had been dealing with such work.
“Don’t look at this as redundancy but rather a freeing up of your time to be devoted to other employment activities”.
The author is either stupid, lying and/or thinks that the readers are stupid. None of those options is attractive.
Apparently cutting work, and therefore jobs, creates economic growth. This is Paragraph 2.26 in full:
“2.26 Claimant lawyers would experience a reduction in aggregate income. This would not constitute a direct economic cost of the reforms, but instead would reflect their increased economic efficiency. Fewer resources would be required to achieve the same outcomes, and the resources freed up as a result may be devoted to other productive profit-making activities, with positive implications for economic growth. Claimant lawyers would also incur initial familiarisation costs, which are likely to be relatively minor”.
This creates a whole new defence in contract cases:
“The defendant, in cancelling the order, has not caused the claimant any loss, but rather has freed up the claimant to devote itself to other productive profit-making activities.
The defendant therefore counter-claims…….”
Rather than costing firms lost business the changes “generate net resource savings for business. As such they have been assessed as ZERO NET COST”. (Their capitals – probably in GREEN INK! As well).
So, remember, closing a factory generates “net resource savings”.
And so on.
You can imagine the publisher’s note if Mr Orwell had tried to include that in 1984.
“Gone a bit far George. Unrealistic. Unbelievable. Delete.”
The Ministry of Justice used to be the Lord Chancellor’s Department, then the Department for Constitutional Affairs, then Windscale/Sellafield.
Whatever its official title it is rapidly becoming the Ministry of Truth.