David Cameron is to unveil sweeping changes to ‘mad’ health and
safety rules which are putting a massive burden on British business and
The Prime Minister will launch a bonfire of rules
and will declare war on the mushrooming compensation culture at his
party’s conference next month.
A whole slew of regulations on
police, teachers and ambulance workers will be lifted so they no longer
face the threat of being sued for making common sense decisions.
Mr Cameron will tear up Labour rules which have been blamed for
creating a culture where someone must be to blame for every mishap.
will no longer have to fill in reams of ‘risk assessment’ forms before
taking youngsters on school trips, and killjoy council officials will
find it much harder to ban firework displays and street parties.
law firms will also be targeted. Personal injury lawyers will face
restrictions on advertising and the fees they can charge.
Cameron wants to slash red tape which means even ‘low risk’ work places
like offices are subject to the same tough rules as factories.
A government source said: ‘The PM thinks the current health and safety rules are mad. The system needs drastic reform.
‘What we are determined to see is a great extension of personal
freedom, at the same time as a rolling back both of the state and the
power of the courts.’
changes are contained in a report by Margaret Thatcher’s former trade
secretary Lord Young, whose 40 recommendations will be published at the
He is expected to conclude that a barrage of legal cases have made health and safety laws ‘a music hall joke’.
Earlier this year, Mr Cameron told the Daily Mail that the health and
safety obsession had ‘encroached into various different parts of
national life, whether it’s stopping Bonfire Night or stopping an
ambulance getting to an emergency. We need to deal with it all in a
‘We all want our children to have great experiences outside the
classroom, whether it’s visiting museums or farms or geography field
trips or residential courses.
'We want all the things we had in our own
childhood to be available today. There is a worry that it’s becoming
too difficult to do because there are too many forms to fill in, too
many risks to assess.’
He added: ‘We do have a good record of
health and safety at work in this country, and we have a low level of
industrial accidents and that’s important.
‘You can deal with
this problem without jeopardising that at all.
'The neurosis comes from
excessive litigation fears, unclear law, mission creep, Europe, town
halls. It’s all of those things and we have to deal with each one.
That’s what we will do.’
The changes aim to exempt the emergency
services from lawsuits or prosecution for breaching health and safety
laws when they are taking necessary action or risking their own safety
to help others or stop crime. The rules will include part-time police
And it says claims should no longer be considered by
courts after ‘Good Samaritan’ situations which have seen people sued
for trying to give first aid.
It will mean people will no longer
be able to be sued for causing a personal injury through no fault of
their own, when they had been trying to do the right thing, or had been
trying to stop someone else injuring themselves.
There is likely
also to be crackdown on lawyers’ ‘no win, no fee’ arrangements, which
encourage lawyers to take on speculative lawsuits because they can
demand huge costs from defendants like the NHS if they win.
injury law firms will be limited in what they can say and what sort of
advertising they can engage in.
Other changes would see success
fees charged by lawyers in ‘no win, no fee’ agreements no longer
recoverable from defendants – instead they would take their cut from
the victim’s pay out.
Judges would also be given the power to cap the
costs individual claimants can recover in personal injury cases.
Young would also like to see a reduction in the huge number of risk
assessment forms that teachers have to fill in before going on trips.
There will instead be a simple consent form for parents to sign.