By politics.co.uk staff
David Cameron has ordered a sweeping review of Britain's health and safety culture as he demands a more "sensible" approach to the issue.
The prime minister has asked former Cabinet minister David Young to assess the Whitehall-wide review of health and safety laws and the growth of what the government calls a 'compensation culture'.
It follows criticisms by the Conservatives in opposition that the Labour government developed an excessive raft of health and safety legislation which has failed to strike the right balance between protecting individuals and hampering business growth.
"The rise of the compensation culture over the last ten years is a real concern, as is the way health and safety rules are sometimes applied," Mr Cameron said.
"We need a sensible new approach that makes clear these laws are intended to protect people, not overwhelm business with red tape."
Lord Young served in the Thatcher government for four years from 1985, first as employment minister before becoming trade and industry secretary in 1987.
He said that "essential" health and safety regulation "may well have been applied too generally" in recent years, placing an unnecessary burden on firms, community organisations and public services.
"I hope my review will reintroduce an element of common sense and focus the reuglation where it is most needed," he commented.
"We need a system that is proportionate and not bureaucratic."