The Government has announced a range of legislative measures aimed at boosting UK business growth.

According to BIS, from April 2013 the Government intends to introduce new rules that will exempt hundreds of thousands of businesses from regular health & safety inspections. Only businesses operating in higher risk areas will face these inspections, such as those in construction and those who have a track record of poor performance.

In addition, the Government will table legislation next month to remove the part of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which imposes civil liability for breaches of health and safety regulations. The Government wishes to introduce legislation which will provide that businesses will only be held liable in health and safety cases where they have acted negligently. Currently businesses can automatically be liable regardless of whether they were actually negligent.

The Government is also examining some 6,500 substantive regulations through the Red Tape Challenge process, launched in April 2011. According to BIS, the Government is committed to substantially repealing or reducing at least 3,000 regulations and will identify these by December 2013. The Government is already operating under a One-in-One-Out rule which aims to match the cost imposed on businesses by any new regulations by repealing existing regulations.

The Government’s proposals will be welcomed by most businesses. Its fourth “Statement of New Regulation”, published in July 2012, reported that savings to business from cuts in regulation have outweighed the costs of new regulation by over £850 million since 2011.

Employmentbuddy will be sure to report when any of these proposals take effect. In the meantime, for more information on employers’ duties under current Health and Safety legislation see the Health and Safety factsheet.