The budget for the Health and Safety Executive will be reduced by more than one-third by 2015, the Government has said.
The 35% cut in funding was part of Chancellor George Osborne’s spending review, announced in October, but was published separately to the Chancellor’s main statement, by the Department for Work and Pensions.
The move immediately led to protests from unions, with the construction union UCATT pointing out that six construction workers were killed in the week of the spending review. It warned that cuts in frontline inspectors could mean more inexperienced companies and workers entering the industry, and deaths increasing as a result.
The TUC, in its biennial survey of health and safety representatives, pointed out that almost half of workplaces in the UK have never been visited by a health and safety inspector.