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BeeHive  >  Press Articles  >  All a buzz about bees

All a buzz about bees

You'll never guess what? Bee-keeping is going to be deregulated, that's what! I know this because I read about it in the FT and I've found out loads of fascinating stuff about bees and regulation. For a start, did you know there are about 100,000 hives in the UK today? No? Nor did I, but isn't it spooky that that's just about the same number of pension schemes we've got?

The government is going to do away with the bee inspectors whose job it is to go around making sure that hives are disease-free and give that job to the bee-keepers themselves. This will cut the budget of the National Bee Unit from 1.25m to just 1m a year.

Well, as you can imagine, all this has split the UK bee community right down the middle. Some are saying the critical role bees play as pollinators is too important for disease checks to be left to bee-keepers. (Albert Einstein evidently pointed out once that if bees left the planet, we'd probably only be a few years behind.)

Others though are confident the bee-keepers know what they're doing and don't need your busybody inspector types coming around all the time to tell them what they already know. But is this really about bees? I'm not so sure.

It's this 100,000 thing that keeps coming back to me. You know, like what if this bee-keeping deregulation is just some kind of dry run to see if we could take the same approach with our 100,000 pension schemes?

Perhaps they too could be deregulated and left to get on with things themselves? I know that might sound implausible at first glance, but think about it - pension schemes are not as important as beehives are they?

I mean, if we didn't have pension schemes we could still muddle through, it wouldn't be a species-threatening event like the loss of our beehives, would it?

Come to think of it, why didn't the government do a test run on deregulating pension schemes first to see if it was safe to do it with beehives?

There's a worrying thought.

Steve Bee

First published in Pensions Management, December 2004