An end to cynicism?

One can get somewhat cynical about consultation. After all, we are regularly consulted to no great effect. Of course, we should not confuse consultation with referendum - just because we say we want something doesn't mean it will happen.

However the recent FSA consultation on MHS charging could perhaps point the way to a refreshing change of approach. Yes, the industry still ended up with potential extra costs, but considering the options on the table, it would seem the FSA listened to the views of the sector and went with the lesser option on charging.

The cynic might argue that they had little choice; to go with anything higher could have sparked outright rebellion in these times of zero inflation and economic hardship. But cycnicism gets us nowhere.

The FSA consulted the industry, and the result is the sector is left with a considerably lower bill than if the FSA board had simply imposed the original recommendations.

Of course, we would have preferred no cost increase at all, but for once, we cannot question the consultation exercise, and that I find quite refreshing.

Of course, should the Scottish Minister follow through with his threat to veto the proposed 4% rise, then all bets are off. Interestingly, no-one seems to be particularly clear on what would happen should the Scots reject the rise - but one thing's for sure, the UK industry will be watching with interest.

Meanwhile, on with the latest from the Butchers on Bikes gang. Training is progressing well for most, with the exception of a few broken ribs! Funds are starting to pour in, and as we went to press were hovering just below the 5,000 mark - but we need more! Visit www.justgiving.com/butchers-on-bikes and give generously.

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