I'll Free Firms from 3,000 Red Tape Rules; Barmy Laws Will Go, Says Tory Drafted in to 'Help' Cable
Byline: James Chapman Political Editor
BUSINESSES are to be freed from the threat of 'barmy' compensation claims as part of a new Government drive to rip up almost half of all business red tape by the end of next year.
Business minister Michael Fallon, appointed last week to push a more radical pro-growth agenda, will say today that 3,000 burdensome regulations will be scrapped or overhauled. Shops, offices, pubs and clubs will no longer face health and safety inspections, and the law will be changed to ensure firms can only be held liable for civil damages in health and safety cases if they can be shown to have acted negligently.
Later this week, the Government will announce plans to make it easier for firms to remove under-performing workers in return for a pay-off.
Using 'settlement agreements' will allow more staff to agree to go without the need to go to employment tribunals.
Mr Fallon's boss, Business Secretary Vince Cable, will seek to assert his authority tomorrow by unveiling a new industrial strategy, offering special help to specific industries identified as having the potential for growth, including aerospace, car manufacturing and life sciences.
Mr Cable has been dubbed the 'antibusiness Business Secretary' by MPs on the Tory Right, who accuse him of standing in the way of radical reform of employment law and regulation.
In one of the most significant moves in last week's Government reshuffle, David Cameron parachuted three Conservatives into the business department without consulting Mr Cable.
As well as former Tory deputy chairman Mr Fallon, they are Matthew Hancock, ex-chief of staff to George Osborne, and former Tory treasurer Lord Marland.
A string of announcements this week will flesh out an uneasy 'grand bargain' between the Tories and Lib Dems on business policy, with workplace law reforms and deregulation announcements cheering Tory MPs and Lib Dems placated by a more interventionist industrial strategy.
Mr Fallon will today announce that from April 2013, the Government intends to introduce binding rules on both the Health & Safety Executive and on councils that will exempt hundreds of thousands of firms from regular health and safety inspections. In future, businesses will only face inspections if they are operating in higher risk areas such as construction, or if they have a record of poor performance. …