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Political parties plans for health and safety ahead of the General Election

Updated: 4 days ago

Updated 13 June 2024 (after the main Party Manifesto launches)


A General Election has been called for Thursday 4th July 2024, and while the subject may not decide who will run the country over the next five or so years, it is important to know what each of the main parties propose to do. The following information, in no particular order, is what has been announced.





LABOUR PARTY


The Labour Party manifesto was launched on 13 June 2024.


In January, the Labour Party announced “a new deal for working people”. These were followed up in their election manifesto. This includes plans to:


  • Ban zero-hours contracts

  • Bring in the right to switch off from work autonomously

  • Strengthen the law to enforce workplace rights

  • Put mental health on a par with physical health in workplaces - the manifesto states that "Labour will modernise legislation to give patients greater choice, autonomy, enhanced rights and support, and ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect throughout treatment."

  • Raise awareness of neurodiversity in workplaces

  • Tackle workplace harassment

  • Strengthen the rights and protections for workers and the self-employed

  • Make flexible working a day one right

  • Strengthen protections for working mothers

  • Introduce new rights to protect workers from remote surveillance

  • Repealing the "anti-trade union" legislation introduced by the Conservatives in the Trade Union Act 2016. The manifesto states "We will strengthen the collective voice of workers, including through their trade unions, and create a Single Enforcement Body to ensure employment rights are upheld."

  • Reintroducing The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill (Martyn’s Law).


In addition, the manifesto states "Labour will right this wrong, act on the findings of the Infected Blood Inquiry, and respond to the findings of the Grenfell Inquiry and the Covid-19 Inquiry, to ensure swift resolution.

Labour will introduce a ‘Hillsborough Law’ which will place a legal duty of candour on public servants and authorities, and provide legal aid for victims of disasters or state-related deaths."


CONSERVATIVE PARTY


At present, it appears that the Conservative Party will continue with current policies and plans, including:

  • Reintroducing The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill (Martyn’s Law). The manifesto states “We will urgently introduce Martyn’s Law, in tribute to Martyn Hett, who was tragically killed alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017. This will ensure premises are better prepared for terrorist attacks by requiring them to take proportionate steps to mitigate risks.

  • A review of RIDDOR legislation (although this is not in the manifesto, it was announced prior to Parliament being dissolved)

  • Acting when the now much delayed Grenfell Inquiry report is published.

  • Continue to encourage people to return to workplaces rather than work from home.

  • Reforming industrial action laws (it is unknown if this will include industrial action relating to health and safety)

  • A proposed Bullying and Respect at Work Bill was planned for the last Parliamentary term, but it is unknown if this will be resurrected after the election if the Conservatives win.


The Conservative Manifesto was launched on 11th June and states that the party will “transform the UK regulatory landscape, making sure regulators deliver the best outcomes for business, consumers and the environment.”


It continues: “Thanks to Brexit, we have taken back control of our laws and freed British businesses from unnecessary burdens. We legislated to remove the principle of EU law supremacy and have undertaken a root-and-branch review of the more than 6,000 laws we had inherited from the EU.”

“We have already repealed or reformed over 2,000 EU laws and by July 2026 we will have repealed or reformed over half of the entire stock of EU law we inherited. Only the Conservatives will keep on removing EU laws from our statute book. Our Smarter Regulation approach has already saved 50 million hours of administrative time for business, saving them an estimated £1 billion.”


The manifesto also mentions:

  • delivering a step- change in mental health provision

  • overhauling the fit note process so that people are not being signed off sick as a default

  • introducing a Victims and Prisoners Act to ensure victims of crime are protected and supported, including that those affected by major disasters such as Hillsborough, the Manchester Arena bombing and the Grenfell Tower fire allowing them to get the help they need, when they need it, through a permanent Independent Public Advocate.

  • committing to road safety and, maintaining their pledge to build no new smart motorways and invest in improving the safety of existing ones.



More may come outbe announced at the time to this post.



LIBERAL DEMOCRATS


The Lib Dems launched their manifesto on 10 June 2024. It states that they will:

  • Ensure the UK has the highest possible standards of environmental, health, labour and consumer protection, at least matching EU standards.

  • Improve early access to mental health services.

  • Tackling air pollution and poor air quality in public buildings with a Clean Air Act.

  • Introduce the Hillsborough Law: a statutory duty of candour on police officers and all public officials.

  • Establish a powerful new Worker Protection Enforcement Authority to protect people in precarious work, with proactive intelligence-led enforcement of labour market standards.

  • Give everyone a new right to flexible working and every disabled person the right to work from home if they want to, unless there are significant business reasons why it is not possible.




THE GREEN PARTY


The Green Party launched its manifesto on 12 June 2024. As you would expect, there is a lot of environmental policy, but very little on occupational health and safety. It's maniufesto policies include:

  • Repeal of current anti-union legislation and its replacement with a positive Charter of Workers’ Rights, with the right to strike at its heart along with a legal obligation for all employers to recognise trade unions.

  • Equal employment rights for all workers from their first day of employment.

  • A move to a four-day working week.



REFORM UK


Reform UK has a “contract with you” rather than a manifesto. It is a “working draft” for the first 100 days after the election, so may not be a commitment long term.


They say they will:

  • "Scrap thousands of laws that hold back British business and damage productivity, including employment laws that make it riskier to hire people."


There is very little else relating to occupational health and safety in Reform UK document.



AN ALTERNATIVE MANIFESTO FROM THE BRITISH SAFETY COUNCIL


Meanwhile, the British Safety Council announced its manifesto for the General Election back in March 2024, that whichever party wins and forms the next Government needs to:


  • create a dedicated Minister for Wellbeing, who would lead the cross-governmental development and delivery of the UK's first National Wellbeing Strategy

  • provide support to companies that invest in new and developing technologies to improve health, safety and wellbeing standards in the workplace

  • include health and safety training spend in a new Skills Tax Credit

  • provide adequate funding to both the Health and Safety Executive and the Building Safety Regulator, and for local authorities who hold statutory duties for the regulation and inspection of health and safety






This page will be updated as further information comes available during this election. No responsibility will be taken by KSH Safety Services for any errors in this post.

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