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EXTRA£63M TO IMPROVE HEALTH AND SAFETY

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An extra£63m is to be invested in health and safety, environment minister has been announced by Michael Meacher. ...
An extra£63m is to be invested in health and safety, environment minister has been announced by Michael Meacher.

The funding package will be spread over three years, and will:

- allow the Health and Safety Executive to recruit and train more inspectors

- increase investment in policy development and scientific and technological support

The increase will be funded partly through an extension to the Health and Safety Commission's existing charging regime. Charges will be introduced in statutory permissioning regimes for assessing safety cases, granting approvals and regulatory activities to ensure compliance with the safety case in the gas, offshore and railway industries, and the functions placed upon the GB component authorities under the EU Directive for Control of Major Accident Hazards in onshore installations, such as chemical plants and oil refineries.

Mr Meacher, committing over£20m of government money, welcomed

the settlement:

'This signals our strong commitment to achieving further improvements in health and safety standards in the workplace. We will be agreeing a plan of work with the commission which will ensure that these additional resources deliver real and tangible benefit.

'I believe it is right that industries, which depend so heavily onsafe operation, should pay for these activities and that the resultant income should be reinvested to secure further improvement

in health and safety standards.'

Ministers will meet with the commission soon to agree key objectives for a new plan of work for the next three years.

Notes

1. In answer to a parliamentary question Mr Meacher said:

'I am pleased to be able to announce today a new financial package

for the Health and Safety Commission. Extra government funding of

£20 million over the next three years, together with changes in its

charging regime, will enable the HSC to increase its running costs by

£12.9m in 1999/00,£22.8m in 2000/01 and£27m in 2001/02 over and above the baseline for the current financial year. This settlement signals our strong commitment to achieving further improvements in health and safety standards in the workplace. We will be agreeing a Plan of Work with the Commission which will ensure that these additional resources deliver real and tangible benefit.

This excellent settlement for health and safety is dependent in part

on an extension to the commission's existing charging regime. I have

asked the commission to introduce charges in statutory permissioning

regimes for assessing safety cases, granting approvals and regulatory

activities to ensure compliance with the safety case in the gas,

offshore and railway industries, and the functions placed upon the GB

competent authorities under the EU Directive for Control of Major

Accident Hazards in onshore installations. The government does not

intend that charging should extend beyond regimes of this kind.

I believe it is right that these industries, which depend so heavily

on safe operation, should pay for these activities and that the

resultant income should be reinvested to secure further improvement

in health and safety standards.'

2. Further information on how the additional money will be invested

will be published in the Health and Safety Commission's Plan of Work,

next Spring.

3. The funds provided will consist of an additional£12.9m

next year,£22.8m in 2000/01 and£27m in 2001/02 over

and above the baseline for the current financial year.£40m

will be raised through the new charging regime, whilst£23m of

the funds will come direct from government.

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