Welcome to our Industry Insight blog series inspired by articles and comment on the web.
In this blog, we focus on the potential impact of further budget cuts to the Health & Safety Executive.
The Health & Safety Executive’s 2016/17 Business Plan reveals that the organisation is due for further business cuts; part of an ongoing trend of cuts since 2010.
The 2016/17 business plan states “In responding to this financial challenge, the HSE will seek to maintain current levels of its core regulatory activities including permission, inspection, investigation and enforcement.”
Writing for SHP Online, Lauren Appleby summed up the agency’s financial prospects: “The HSE’s Business Plan for 2016/17 shows the funding the executive receives from central government will be over £100 million less in 2019/20 than it was in 2009/10, bringing the total reduction since 2009/10 to 46%. The plan details money the HSE receives via the Department for Work and Pensions, which is set to decrease each year throughout the current parliament. In 2019/20, the executive will receive £123.4 million, compared to £231 million received in 2009/10. The report shows that in the current year, 2016/17, the HSE’s budget will be £141 million while income generated will stand at £94 million, including money from fees and licensing, including fees for Intervention.”
Naturally these cuts raise further concerns about the efficacy of the HSE. A 2012 report from the University of Stirling warned “Thousands of people are being killed or seriously injured at work because of drastic cutbacks at the UK Government’s Health and Safety Executive”.
At the time the HSE countered by pointing out that the responsibility for health and safety lies in the hands of those who create the risk and that the onus should be on companies to ensure safety and compliance. One HSE spokesman said that “Inspections are not, and never could be, a substitute for companies ensuring they comply with the law, especially when the risks are very well known.”
With the announcement of further budget cuts, does the HSE risk becoming no more than a “threadbare agency” unfit for purpose?
Let us know what you think