The Proposed Deregulation Bill – What’s in it for the Self-Employed?

In a bid to contain red-tapism and slash useless paper work, the parliament will soon be debating on a deregulation bill that exempts self-employed people from health and safety legislation. If the reforms are approved, people running independent home businesses and those in low risk occupations will no longer be required to submit health and safety assessments and thus will benefit by saving on time consuming procedures and paper-work.

The proposed Deregulation Bill – what’s in it for the self-employed?What is the Deregulation Bill all about?

Published by cabinet minister Ken Clarke, the draft of the Deregulation Bill proposes to combat the “Red Tape Challenge” by scrapping health and safety assessments for self-employed people. These recommendations are based on suggestions by Professor Ragnar Löfstedt who was commissioned to review the health and safety law in March 2011. This would impact as many as two million people and free them from excessive curbs and controls that could delay their start-up plans or pose as a setback to the efficient running of their independent businesses. What’s more – it could also save firms up to several thousand pounds a year.

What the current law says

As per the stipulations of the present law, self-employed people are required to evaluate their own health and safety conditions at their place of work and any risk to the health and well-being of the others around them. In addition they also have to put in place effective measures that ensure that all possible risks are controlled and minimised. Violating this law is considered a criminal offence which can attract a fine as well as imprisonment of up to two years.

The Deregulation Bill seeks to bring in an element of common sense by offering a waiver on assessments to self-employed people who do not employ any more people, on the condition that their business activities do not carry any potential risk of danger to others. These changes, proposed by ministers Ken Clarke and Oliver Letwin are being viewed as a direct comment on the Coalition government’s inability to control excessive legislative procedures that are thwarting the cause of small businesses and posing as a serious hurdle to their success.

What the deregulation hopes to achieve

If passed, the Deregulation Act would cut down on unnecessary paperwork and time consuming official procedures and introduce the “common sense” factor to the health and safety laws. This would relieve small firms and independent business owners from the burden of excessive regulations and cumbersome processes and bring in much needed flexibility to the health and safety laws.

The Deregulation bill would indeed encourage many aspiring entrepreneurs to set up their home based businesses without the fear of being bogged down by bureaucracy. It would be a welcome step for hundreds of talented people who want to be in better control of their lives by becoming owners of independent ventures.