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24 October 2011

Harlow MP Tables Early Day Motion On Safety Charges For Businesses

Reference number: ESPR/2410MNW

Harlow Member of Parliament Robert Halfon has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons after being told by Essex FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) that new regulations could cost small businesses more than £750 if they are visited by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Chairwoman of Mid and North West Essex FSB, Glenys Chatterley, said: ""The HSE has proposed to extend its current systems of cost recovery to include a fee for intervention where an inspector will charge for the inspection and any subsequent actions when a material fault has been found. "The HSE estimates that for an inspection that results in a letter, the cost to business could be at least £750.

"For a small or micro business (which employs fewer than 10 staff), a bill of £750 or more for a material fault could be extremely damaging especially during difficult economic times.

"The proposal currently states that micro firms will in general receive the same level of fees as large businesses.

"This will disproportionally affect micro firms as fees of this level will have a greater affect on the ability of the business to function and grow.

"Essex FSB is concerned that the proposal is a revenue generating exercise which could damage the HSE''s relationship with business. Worryingly, the proposal fails to clarify whether the money raised would go to the HSE or to the Treasury.

"The FSB believes that if it goes to the HSE small firms could fear that their inspection has been influenced by the need to raise money – especially as the context for this consultation is a 35 per cent budget cut to the HSE.

"Our concerns were raised with Harlow MP Robert Halfon, who is an Essex FSB Real Life Entrepreneur Champion, and he shares our concern.

"Not only is he lobbying relevant Government Ministers to persuade them not to implement such a punitive charging structure but he has also tabled an Early Day Motion so other MPs can show their support for his view and add their weight to the campaign to prevent such charges being introduced."

The FSB represents more than 200,000 business people across the United Kingdom and is the largest single organisation representing business interests in the country.


The Mid and North West Essex Branch of the FSB represents the interests of small businesses in the following postcode areas –

CM0 to CM5, CM8, CM9 and CM17 to CM20 – which includes Chelmsford, Harlow, Maldon and Uttlesford Council areas. More information on the Essex Region of the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) can be found at the Essex FSB website.