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October 16, 2013

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EU red tape’ report fails on business case

 

Stressed worker with head in handsRecommendations in a government-commissioned report, presented to the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday (15 October), could hamper rather than foster growth.  
 
Highlighting the ’30 worst threats to small firms’, the business taskforce’s ‘EU red tape’ report blasts “problematic, poorly-understood and burdensome European rules” for slowing production, sales and innovation and leaving the EU trailing international rivals.
 
The taskforce has called for small businesses in low-risk sectors to be exempt from keeping health and safety assessments, which it estimates could save businesses across the EU £2.7bn.
 
Welcoming the report, the Prime Minister David Cameron, said: “Business people, particularly owners of small firms, are forced to spend too much time complying with pointless, burdensome and costly regulations€ᆭ I’m determined to change that and to get EU working for business, not against it.”
 
But health and safety professionals have challenged the findings and argue that supporting small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to adhere to health and safety regulations rather than relax the rules would actually benefit the UK economy in the long run. 
 
Richard Jones, head of policy and public affairs at IOSH, said that research showed that positive feelings about work were linked with higher productivity, profitability and worker and customer loyalty. 
 
“It’s important to remember that health and safety failures in the UK cost society a staggering £13.4bn per year, double this once you take into account the cost of occupational cancers and property damage,” he said in IOSH’s response. 
 
Jones added that the report failed to make clear that small UK firms, employing fewer than five employees, are already exempt from keeping written assessments. 
 
What SMEs most needed, he countered, was more help from government, such as the promotion of all of the free tools, which help to make risk assessments easier. 

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Concerned
Concerned
8 years ago

I’d like to know where they get all these figures from, £2.7bn in savings. I’d suggest that plucking figures out of thin air isn’t the best way to run a country.

Surely removing regulation will drop standards, put people at higher risk of injury and ultimately cost the country more in medical bills and insurance premiums.

Weren’t the banks deregulated, that was for pro-business reasons, that turned out well didn’t it.

Edith Jones
Edith Jones
8 years ago

Given the latest work related fatality figures the idea that H&S in SMEs could be reduced is frankly ridiculous. How many of the fatalities occured in SMEs? probably a high proportion of them.

Ian Miles
Ian Miles
8 years ago

So there you have it; the PM believes that H&S regulations “pointless, burdensome and costly” to SMEs.

Just plain wrong on so many levels.

ian Wightman
ian Wightman
8 years ago

Everything this government introduces does nothing to improve life for working people so it comes as no surprise Cameron wants to go back to Dickensian working conditions simply to line the pockets even further of the greedy profiteers

Louis Coleiro
Louis Coleiro
8 years ago

As far as I know SME’s are the backbone of nay economy as these employ a large number of persons. So relaxing the rules for these firms means that a big chunk of the workers will be working in an environment that is not fully compliant with H&S standards & regs. This means giving the e way to those employers who from the beginning showed apathy towards H&S and those who will be most affected are the workers. In the long run the health bills will rise to the nation and in compensations.

Martin Bevan
Martin Bevan
8 years ago

Well, we work the longest hours in the EU; will have to work longer before we get our pension and now we have to work in unsafe workplaces.

Welcome to UK (PLC) where exploitation of its citizens is the new economic salvation!

Nigel Dupree
Nigel Dupree
8 years ago

Rhetoric or sound bites are not going to address the critical mass of work related stress fatigue and/or disaffection debilitating performance and well-being of UK hooman resources at increasing risk of tiredness, performance anxiety and sub-optimal psychosocial working environment.

It appears that someone has forgotten the dot gov’s admission that they themselves had been running a campaign of “gilding the lilly” or just over-complicating translation of EU regulations