Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop, today (9th May 2013) described one new bill introduced in the Queens Speech yesterday as “a silly bill that will harm Teessiders and Teesside’s economy”.
“One bill that was announced was a measure to exempt the self-employed from health and safety regulations in carrying out their trade. This is a profoundly silly and dangerous measure. It is silly because it was said this will only apply ‘where their activities do not harm the public’ and I defy anyone to say how this definition can be framed.
“But it is also dangerous to both the local economy and to the self-employed themselves. Take a self-employed builder or electrician who carries out work in large local factories or offices. These firms are covered by statutory health and safety rules and it is highly likely that these firms, or at the very least their insurers, will not allow these people on site. This means that local self-employed people will lose work which brings earnings that are fed back into the local economy.
“There is also physical danger. I can see a scenario where a self-employed person can say that he or she does not come into contact with the public, and be exempted, but then gets offered a contract in a public place, takes a risk in accepting it, and then exposes themselves and others to dangers and also to possible legal action from people affected by their possible negligence if an accident happens. This is just a silly and dangerous bill, and if there was any sense on the Coalition benches they should withdraw it at its first reading.”