Employment Minister Chris Grayling has warned that UK jobs will be lost to other countries unless business red tape is slashed.
The Conservative yesterday told a meeting of business leaders that “unneeded” health and safety rules “stifle” growth.
Mr Grayling said the Government was making progress to cut regulation as he announced new guidance to stop firms being “duped” into unnecessary safety checks on basic office equipment such as table lamps and computers.
The document will clear up confusion over how often portable appliance tests (PAT) must be carried out, saving business about £30m a year, he said.
Mr Grayling told the Enterprise Forum in London: “We have a simple and straightforward choice. If we want people to have jobs, we have to recognise just how different and competitive the world has become.
“And that means we have to change in response.
“We need lower taxes and less red tape for business, or jobs will go elsewhere.
“That’s why we are cutting health and safety bureaucracy. We’re making good progress and I am determined to cut the number of health and safety regulations in half.
“Of course we have to protect people against death and serious injury in the workplace, and we won’t do anything to risk this, but if we stifle their employers with unneeded rules and regulations those people won’t have a job in the first place.”
John Walker, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “The Federation of Small Businesses fully supports the work that the Health and Safety Executive has undertaken to clarify guidance on the safety of portable electrical equipment in low-risk environments, as well as in other areas of health and safety regulation.”
He added: “This is a welcome step on the road to reducing the regulatory burden that small firms face.
“It will help to clarify what is actually necessary and prevent gold-plating, reducing both the cost as well as unproductive administrative time.”