More laws please – I store the documents

The number of laws passed in Britain by our government grows year on year.  That may or may not be a good thing, but for a company like ours which stores paper – including lots of legal documents – it is quite good news.

Tony Blair’s government was responsible for 54% more new laws per year in office than Margaret Thatcher, according to research by Sweet & Maxwell. 

Over 2500 new laws were added each year under the Labour government, compared with 2300 a year under Major, and 1700 a year under Thatcher.

The growth was most marked in criminal law, where 40 Criminal Justice Acts have been introduced since 1997.  The runner up is employment law.

In total Tony Blair’s administration brought in 26,849 new laws compared with 15,212 in John Major’s much shorter regime.

Len Sealy, Professor of Law, University of Cambridge, said in response to these figures “I think that a lot of the legislation is not so much originated by governments as part of their policy but is a reactive response to what are perceived as the concerns of us as a society – fed from day to day by the media, which can make every bit of news into a crisis.  Governments like to be seen to be doing something in the headlines.”

Interestingly these figures don’t include EU legislation that becomes law in the UK without being incorporated in UK law as a statue.  If those figures were included the numbers would be higher still for there were over 2,100 European Regulations in 2006 alone.

Another recent phenomenon is not simply the number of statutes but also their size.  Of the 2006 Acts, five had over 100 pages, three over 200, one over 300, one over 500 and one over 700!

The Companies Act 2006, was the longest Act of 2006, and is also the longest Act in British Parliamentary history, with 1,300 sections, covering nearly 700 pages, and containing no less than 15 schedules.

But now the bad (or good) news – depending on your view.  The number looks like shooting up once again as the current Coalition Government seems set on breaking all records with the number of bills it is pushing through.

I am thinking of expanding our store, since every bill brings more legal cases, which means more paperwork that needs storing.

There’s more information about our document storage facility on our website, alternatively give us a call on 0800 783 9516.

If I take over the whole of the UK…

The number of books published somewhere in the world increased very slowly year by year through the first eight years of this century.

It took four years for this total to rise from 450,000 per annum in 2001 to 500,000. There were then three years of very little growth, until everything started to move.  By 2008 there was a rise to 750,000 and by 2010 the total had shot up to 4,250,000.

(Apparently the cause was the growth of digital publishing – but that’s another story).

Anyway I suspect you are going to think that I have slipped an extra nought into that 2009 total, but I have checked and double checked with Nelson’s – the company that gathers book data.  

And the result is there for all to see.  For the number of new titles to rise from 450,000 to 750,000 took seven years – an average of 43,000 additional titles a year.

That is a big enough leap – but to go from 750,000 to 4,250,000 in two years is incredible.  Put another way, the number of books being published has risen by 1.75 million a year.

If this trend were to continue the 2011 figure should come in at around 6 million new titles, and by 2020 we will be publishing over 17 million new books a year.

If the percentage growth were to continue at the rate of the last couple of years then the number of books published each year by 2020 will be 41,503,000,000,000.

Now I have contemplated this number for some time, and since I am in the business of storing printed documents I have realised that I shall need some additional storage space.  The area of the UK is 94,000 square miles, give or take – which is 2.3 thousand million square feet.  So I asked myself, if I am asked to have just one copy of each book published in the world in my warehouse by the end of the decade could I do it?

That means I have 41.5 thousand million books – or around 20 books in each square foot.   Yes I can manage that – but only for a year, and only if I have a warehouse which is the same size as the UK.  

Now I have just put this to my partners in the business and they have listened with interest.  But then one of them said, “but what about Loch Foyle?”   I looked at him a bit dubiously.  Then I realised his point.  A fair bit of the UK is actually under water.   Some of my books will get a bit wet.   Time to think again.

Meanwhile I can assure you that as matters stand no one has come to me with a request to store one copy of each book that will theoretically be published in 2020.  And for now we do have spare space.  

Book it now, while space lasts!