Health and safety rules to be culled to save money

THE government yesterday unveiled plans to scrap health and safety legislation that costs firms billions of pounds a year.

Healthy and safety tsar Lord Young, the special adviser that helped Sir Keith Joseph usher in privatisation in 1979, said he would “sweep away tick-box bureaucracy that undermines personal responsibility”.

And he announced plans to crack down on so-called “ambulance chaser” lawyers that work on a “no-win no-fee basis” for people who have been injured in an accident.

“As a onetime lawyer, I am today ashamed of the depths some in the law have stooped to, with their aggressive ‘no-win, no-fee’ advertising,” he said.

“What a temptation this provides to someone watching afternoon television. This is not Access to Justice – this is incitement to litigate. And it must stop.”

According to the Forum of Private Business, small and medium-sized companies spend over £2bn-a-year to comply with existing health and safety guidelines.

However, it is not clear how much power Cameron actually has to roll back health and safety legislation, as many of the laws are dictated by EU directives.

• Meanwhile David Cameron appeared to back up defence secretary Liam Fox yesterday when he said at least one new aircraft carrier will get the thumbs up. Fox had written a furious letter to Cameron warning against cuts to the defence budget. However, the ministry of defence will only buy 40 new fighter jets instead of the 140 previously expected.