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Routine health and safety checks scrapped for shops and pubs

‘Low risk’ businesses are to become exempt from health and safety inspections from next year, ministers are to announce today.

The plans would come into effect from April 2013 and impact shops, offices, pubs and clubs – where checks would no longer be routinely carried out.

Health and safety regulation is placing an unnecessary burden on businesses, the Government argues, and it is planning to remove or change over 3,000 regulations in total.

The proposals for low-risk businesses are due to be announced by business minister Michael Fallon, who said: “We have identified the red tape and now we are going to cut it.”

Inspections will still be carried out on higher-risk businesses such as those in the construction or food production sectors, as well as those which have a track record of poor performance.

Business secretary Vince Cable said: “I’ve listened to those concerns and we're determined to put common sense back into areas like health and safety, which will reduce costs and fear of burdensome inspections.”

Alexander Ehmann, head of regulatory policy at the Institute of Directors, said: “Excessive regulation costs time and money, both of which businesses would rather spend on developing new products, hiring staff and building up British business both here and abroad.”

But unions warned the move could risk the safety of employees and customers.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT, said: “This isn’t about cutting red tape, it’s about cutting the throat of safety regulations and the trade unions will mobilise a massive campaign of resistance.”

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