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Budget: Health & Safety regulation review

The Government are introducing legislative change in 2012 so that health and safety law will no longer hold employers to be in breach of their duties in civil law where they have done everything that is reasonably practicable and foreseeable to protect their employees;

  •  giving the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) authority to direct all local authority health and safety inspection and enforcement activity, in order to ensure that it is consistent and targeted towards the most risky workplaces. A code based on existing powers will be introduced in April 2013;
  • amending the Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 to remove the requirement for HSE to approve the training and qualifications of appointed first-aid personnel. Revised guidance aimed at small business will be published by May 2012, and provisions repealed by October 2012;
  • amending the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulation (RIDDOR) and its associated guidance to provide clarity for businesses on how to comply with the requirements by October 2013. This is in addition to the legislative change being made in April 2012 to extend to seven days (from three) the period an employee needs to have taken off work before an injury or accident needs to be reported;
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Government to reduce burdens on business

Government budget proposals

  • will improve and reform the Enterprise Management Incentive scheme (EMI), which helps SMEs recruit and retain talent, by providing additional support to help start-ups access the scheme; by consulting on amending restrictions that currently prevent the scheme being used by academics employed by start-ups, and by more than doubling the individual grant limit to £250,000, subject to State aid approval;
  • will consult on simplifying the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) energy efficiency scheme to reduce administrative burdens on business.  Should very significant administrative savings not be deliverable, the Government will bring forward proposals in autumn 2012 to replace CRC revenues with an alternative environmental tax, and will engage with business before then to identify potential options;
  • will scrap or improve 84 per cent of health and safety regulation, including legislating in 2012 so that ‘strict liability’ provisions in health and safety law will no longer hold employers to be in breach of their duties when they have done everything that is reasonably practicable and foreseeable to protect their employees;
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More than £450m investment for regional jobs and growth

Over 100,000 new jobs will be created and safeguarded under Government plans announced today by the Deputy Prime Minister to invest £450m in businesses across England.

The first round of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) will see an expanded amount of public investment support 50 bids by companies and partnerships who demonstrated how they would create jobs and a high level of private sector-led sustainable economic growth in their local communities over the coming years.

The Government expects over 27,000 jobs to be directly created and safeguarded, with close to a further 100,000 jobs in associated supply chains and local economies.

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£20m management training fund will help small businesses grow

Skills Minister John Hayes today called on senior leaders in SMEs to take advantage of funding that will support leadership and management training to help them grow their businesses.

Around 13,000 small and medium sized businesses and social enterprises that demonstrate a potential for growth will benefit from the Leadership and Management development grant. This will help stimulate innovation and employment, boosting the economy and helping develop a bigger and more cohesive society.

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New climate change advice to help businesses boost growth

Climate change will bring opportunities for economic growth if British businesses think now about how climate change will affect them, Environment Minister Lord Henley said today. The message came at the launch of a new interactive online tool designed by Defra and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to prepare businesses for both climate risks and opportunities.

The Climate Resilience Toolkit is a quick and simple online tool available on the Business Link website for businesses wanting to increase their resilience to the changing climate, or explore possibilities for growth by taking advantage of the opportunities climate change will bring.

The toolkit provides a tailored report for each business to help it focus on what it should be doing to prepare, such as checking the robustness of its supply chain, the threat of flooding to premises and possible changes in customer demand for products.

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Government bins business red tape

Business will be freed from the burden of red tape under a package of sweeping reforms to regulation, it was announced today.

In a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses in Liverpool, Mark Prisk revealed Business Secretary Vince Cable’s plans for a range of measures to be included in the Growth Review that will allow businesses to grow, including:

  •  a public audit of almost 22,000 statutory instruments that are currently on the statute book; and
  • a moratorium to exempt businesses with fewer than ten employees and genuine start ups from new domestic regulation for three years.
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New ‘Solutions for Business’ portfolio refocused on growth

The Government is launching a new portfolio of products today to help businesses and support growth in the economy.

The new Solutions for Business (SfB) package is simpler, making it easier to understand and accessible to companies.

There are 13 products designed to help businesses identify and overcome key challenges as they grow and develop. It will target activities where a Government lead is required, such as providing access to strategic advice, helping companies reach international markets and supporting innovation.

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk announced the 13 products at a North West Business Reception in Manchester.

Mr Prisk said:

“The new Solutions for Business portfolio has been designed to give businesses the help they need to expand and grow.

“We are moving away from centralised advice and focusing on targeted programmes. This streamlining is firmly based on developing those services which work, and which private providers do not offer. Securing economic growth is our central task and this step is part of our broad programme to free enterprise and help small firms prosper.”

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