Just my .02 NLG:
The RIPE NCC does have the policy not to get involved in deciding who is
a provider and who not. If very small providers request blocks of
address space they just get very small blocks on first time requests.
There is no reason why very small cannot be less than 256Cs. Yes it
gives problems with reverse lookup but we provide single network
delegations if need be.
When a provider comes for more address space we review his allocations
and decide on the size of the next allocation based on their track
This does not hurt CIDR too badly while conserving address space.