health-mentalThe Government published its draft Deregulation Bill, which looks to reform rules about health and safety, apprentices and employment law.

The proposed legislation, aimed at reducing health and safety regulations, limiting powers of employment tribunals and generally easing red tape on businesses, will now be scrutinised by a joint committee of MPs and peers.

It has been revealed that Ministers have identified more than 1,900 regulations that can be scrapped or reduced, with the Deregulation Bill amending or repealing 182 different pieces of legislation.

Measures in the draft bill include scrapping health and safety rules for self-employed workers in low-risk occupations, exempting 800,000 of them from the regulations and saving £300,000 a year, according to the Government.

It also plans to make apprenticeship system simpler and more flexible to meet the needs of employers and an implementation plan for apprenticeship reform is expected to be published in September.

The wide-ranging measures also include plans to bind new rules to exempt hundreds of thousands of low risk businesses from health and safety inspections.

It also suggests the introduction of a portable Criminal Records check, which employers can view instantly online, saving the need for a new check in the majority of cases, as well as increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal to two years, which it says will save business £4.7m.

Ken Clarke, Minister without portfolio, said:

“I am as strongly in favour of sensible regulation as the next man, but only where it is necessary to prevent wrongdoing and protect the public.

“In recent years a mountain of unnecessary legislation has been piled onto the statute book, usually introduced with the most worthy motives. This regulatory burden wastes time and money for hard-working people and ties honest businesses and public bodies in bureaucratic knots.”

He added:

“The Deregulation Bill is just the latest offspring of the Government’s highly ambitious Red Tape Challenge, which has already identified and removed barriers to the growth of our economy to the tune of £212m each year. There is much more to come.”