Have you ever thrown your arms up in despair while trying to complete an official form and asked yourself what is the point? You're not alone.

Ross Clark, a journalist, has done the same, and he has written a book exposing some of the most petty and bizarre rules and regulations that blight the lives of Britons. Bureaucracy in Britain has reached epidemic proportions and in 12 months the Government produced 3,621 pieces of legislation, running to 98,600 pages.

Clark rants incredulously about the 45 pages of instructions on how to label a goat (or sheep) to the impact that being a deep-sea diver may have on your tax return.

He also discovers there are 279 tax forms for businesses, asking a total of 6,614 questions, that the Treasury's 'simplified' pensions' regime ran to 1,369 pages and you can kill or give away a bullfinch - but not to sell or barter it. Other discoveries include a woman from Kilbride who was given an ASBO forbidding her from answering the door in her underwear and school bans preventing pupils from: making daisy chains (risk of picking up germs); playing hopscotch (risk of injury) and making things from egg boxes (fear of salmonella). Harriman House

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