10,000 hours wasted on Bill

Click to follow
The Government wasted nearly 10,000 hours of civil servants' time this year preparing a Bill to stop big companies cutting prices to force competitors out of business, which was dropped from the Queen's Speech, a minister admitted.

The measures in the Bill, which could have curbed Rupert Murdoch's ability to exploit his domination of the newspaper and new television markets, have been promised by the Government since 1988.

This year alone, the civil service devoted 1.4 person-years to drawing up a consultation document in March, and a further 3.2 person-years to a draft Bill in August, John Taylor, trade and industry minister, told Kim Howells, a Labour spokesman. John Rentoul