Deregulation Bill published to reduce red tape for businesses and employers and clarify employment status of apprentices

Reforms to apprenticeships, the health and safety system and employment law are part of the Government's draft Deregulation Bill published this week.

The bill will now be scrutinised by a joint committee of MPs and peers, and legislation will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows.

The legislation, which proposes amending or repealing 182 pieces of current legislation, is part of the Government's continuing efforts to remove unnecessary bureaucracy that it says costs British businesses millions, hampers public services such as schools and hospitals.

The Government claims its Red Tape Challenge has already brought in reforms that have saved business more than 212 million a year, some of which did not need legislation passed by Parliament to achieve. Further measures will be implemented by the end of the year, including an overhaul of employment tribunals, which will save business around 40 million a year.

Ministers have already decided that more than 1,900 substantive regulations will be scrapped or reduced, and George Osborne, the Chancellor, announced in the Budget that a second phase of the Red Tape Challenge will start this summer.

Oliver Letwin, minister for Government policy, said: "Some of the key changes we have got in motion include making employment tribunals work for employers as well as employees, hugely simplifying building standards and environmental guidance and getting health and safety law into proper proportion."

The measures will include scrapping health and safety rules for self-employed workers in low-risk occupations, exempting 800,000 people from health and safety regulation and saving business an estimated 300,000 a year.

A deregulatory "growth duty" will be put on non-economic regulators, bringing the huge resource of 50 regulators with a budget of 4 billion to bear on the task of promoting growth and stopping unnecessary red tape.

The system of apprenticeships will be made more flexible and responsive to the needs of employers and the economy, as recommended by the Richard Review. The Bill will remove a lot of prescriptive detail in the current legislation and clarify the employment status of apprentices. An implementation plan for apprenticeship reform will be published in September.

The Bill will also remove employment tribunal judges' power to issue wide recommendations to businesses brought before them.

Copyright Press Association 2013