Health and safety at DWP Qs

More of the usual nonsense from the Tory benches at DWP questions today on health and safety legislation. There were three planted questions on the Order Paper, all asking what steps the Secretary of State has taken to reduce the level of health and safety regulation affecting business. This is despite the welcome he gave in November to the report by Professor Ragnar Lofstedt, which concluded “there is no case for radically altering current health and safety legislation” and that “the existing regulatory arrangements are broadly right”. IDS somewhat gave the game away – ie it’s all about scaremongering and pandering to the tabloids who peddle ‘elf and safety stories of dubious authenticity – in his answer to Tobias Ellwood, who had a mini-rant about schools chopping down trees in case children climbed them and teachers not being able to change lightbulbs until they’d been on the climbing a six foot ladder training course. IDS responded that such stories resulted from over-zealous interpretation of health and safety principles, and usually had no basis at all in law. In which case, why is he getting his backbenchers to bang on about changing the law?

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  • Andy Thorogood  On January 23, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Dear Ms McCarthy,

    You will note our standpoint on the issue of access to justice from our blog.

    Given the recent comments by Professor Lofstedt on the misuse of his 2011 report and the related opinion, expressed by Lord Young in his 2010 report ‘Common Sense, Common Safety’; viz. that the compensation culture was essentially a myth fabricated by the tabloid press, I would like to know why the government’s stance on health & safety has not been thoroughly discredited by now.

    There is real threat of lasting damage to health and safety regulation and access to justice for personal injury victims in the UK which seems to be gathering momentum, unabated…

    In our view, the government seems hell-bent on reviewing health and safety legislation until it gets the answer it wants.


    Andy Thorogood
    Practice Development Manager
    Bonnar & Company Solicitors

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