Grayling says Coalition must go "much further and much faster" on economic reform
By Tim Montgomerie
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He was speaking to the Federation of Small Businesses but was his real message to Numbers 10 and 11? Chris Grayling, Employment Minister and one of the most senior members of the Tory Right on the frontbenches, used a speech last night (PA and Telegraph) to say that the government needed "to go much further and much faster" to reboot Britain's economy. He listed the initiatives taken by the government but conceded that they were "only a start". 18 months into this parliament when Britain is facing three economic emergencies that's a tough judgment for one minister to make on the government of which he's a member.
Grayling set out two areas of policy change that he aimed to deliver. He defended the Work Programme - describing it as "probably the biggest welfare to work programme this country has ever seen... It’s almost certainly the biggest payment by results scheme in the world."
But he also focused on health and safety laws. Mr Grayling promised to speedily implement proposals made by Lord Young that will ease the burden on business. He promised to take action to "reduce the risk of trivial legal action and creating a more consistent system for businesses – so you aren’t told one thing in one town and another in another." He then went on to promise to take the fight to the EU:
"Whilst there are many things that we can change ourselves, we also have to deal with the European dimension of health and safety law. From there the tide of regulation seems endless. It will hold back growth. It will cost jobs. It will make Europe more uncompetitive. And it has to stop. My philosophy on health and safety is very simple. We should be tough on employers who risk death or serious injury. But we should leave the rest to work with as little interference as possible."
It'll be interesting to see what the Liberal Democrats make of that kind of language.