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Health And Safety At Work

Volume 884: debated on Wednesday 22 January 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report an estimate of the additional cost which will fall on local authorities, through the implementation of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

I have been asked to reply.The additional cost arising out of the implementation of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act incurred by local authorities will arise out of their duties as employers on the one hand and as enforcing authorities on the other. It is not possible to estimate the cost of any additional responsibilities local authorities may incur as employers at this stage. They have had to budget for the implementation of existing health and safety legislation in the past in so far as this affects their offices and industrial activities, and expenditure in these areas is unlikely to increase substantially in the near future.It may, however, do so over a period of years as new regulations are introduced to replace the existing statutory provisions. Additional expenditure may also be incurred on account of regulations or codes of practice which will be made progressively to cover activities which have been outside the scope of existing health and safety legislation in the past. Any increase in expenditure that is likely to arise out of the duties of local authorities as enforcing authorities under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act will depend on what duties are allocated to them by regulations.The Health and Safety Commission is at present considering what responsibilities for enforcement should fall to local authorities and will bear in mind the financial implications of the proposed allocation of duties regulations. As the cost incurred by local authorities will depend on what conclusions the commission reaches and the nature of the regulations that are made when the commission has made its recommendations, I am unable to give an estimate at present.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the new provisions of the Health and Safety at Work etc. 1974, in the light of his undertaking that the Government would not place new burdens on local authorities and the principles embodied in Circular 171/74.

I have been asked to reply.I am unable to make a statement at present on the financial implications of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act for local authorities. The question is at present being considered by the Health and Safety Commission, which is fully aware of the principles embodied in the Department of the Environment Circular 171/74. This being so, I am still awaiting its findings and recommendations on proposals for the allocation of enforcement duties to local authorities.