Caroline is today leading an attempt to stop threats to safety at work, press freedoms and affordable housing, all contained in the Deregulation Bill.
The Government says the Bill, due its second reading in the Commons today, will “free thousands of businesses from red tape”. While she acknowledges that some of the measures it sets out are positive, such as simplifying rules on recording public rights of way, Lucas has tabled a reasoned amendment setting out concerns about a host of others:
- Removing 800,000 self-employed people from health and safety protections
- Creating a duty on regulatory bodies to promote economic growth – this would even apply to agencies such as the Forestry Commission and Natural England, and to health regulators such as the Care Quality Commission
- Removing the powers of employment tribunals to make wider recommendations on discrimination in the workplace
- Removing the requirement for school governing bodies to ensure good behaviour policies are promoted
- Changes to housing rules which will make it more difficult for housing associations to do business
- Changes to the rules that govern when the police can request access to journalists’ material such as notebooks and digital files, which have given rise to concerns for press freedoms
Two Labour MPs, John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn, and Jonathan Edwards of Plaid Cymru are backing Caroline’s reasoned amendment to the Bill, which will be debated today.
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:
“We definitely need action to support small business, but this Bill throws out the baby with the bathwater.
“While we all want to see an end to legislation that is genuinely defunct, this Bill tears up a whole host of vital protections. The Government talks as if regulation is a bad thing in itself, but in fact it’s essential to protect our rights as workers, as consumers, and users of public services. Measures that threaten freedom of the press, safeguards for workers, or environmental protection don’t benefit anyone in the long term.
“Effective regulation is not only necessary to protect the environment, workplace rights and civil liberties, it can also bring a range of economic benefits, driving jobs and innovation.”
Contact Steve Harman, Press Officer, Office of Caroline Lucas MP
firstname.lastname@example.org 07590 050565