David Cameron:

Cameron’s new year’s resolution: Kill the health and safety ‘monster’

Cameron’s new year’s resolution: Kill the health and safety ‘monster’

By Ian Dunt

David Cameron offered a new year's resolution of a somewhat more policy-orientated sort today when he promised business leaders he would kill the "health and safety monster".

The prime minister used the speech in Berkshire to pledge caps on lawyer earnings from small-value personal injury claims and a reduction in costs for 'no-win-no-fee' deals.

"This coalition has a clear new year's resolution: to kill off the health and safety culture for good," he said.

"I want 2012 to go down in history not just as Olympics year or Diamond Jubilee year, but the year we get a lot of this pointless time-wasting out of the British economy and British life once and for all."

The Health and Safety Executive has been asked to speed up its timetable for abolishing or consolidating up to half of all existing regulations, the prime minister added.

The government is "waging war against the excessive health and safety culture that has become an albatross around the neck of British businesses", he said.

The speech was quick to trigger a reaction from trade unions, who branded it "out of touch" and "risible".

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Every government report on the UK’s supposed compensation culture has shown it to be a myth, and in fact claims have been declining over the past decade.

"Despite this the government seems hell-bent on trying to stop workers injured by their employers’ negligence being able to claim compensation.