Union-bashing Prime Minister David Cameron boasted shamelessly yesterday of his efforts to make workplaces more dangerous.
He cheerfully told a gathering of businessmen that 800 regulations had already been scrapped, including many "needless" rules governing workplace health and safety.
The government's "red tape" cull would eventually see the abolition or amendment of 3,000 regulations, the PM assured the Federation of Small Business.
And he declared that by next year, the environment department Defra will have slashed 80,000 pages of environmental protection guidance, saving businesses around £100 million per year.
"The government's new Deregulation Bill will exempt one million self-employed people from health and safety law altogether," Mr Cameron crowed.
"Shopkeepers used to need a poison licence to sell oven cleaner. We're scrapping that."
A Downing Street spokesman zealously explained: "We will scrap over-zealous rules which dictate how to use a ladder at work or what no-smoking signs must look like.
"We've changed the law so that businesses are no longer automatically liable for an accident that isn't their fault."
In addition, workers will no longer be able to sue their bosses if they are insulted by a customer.
Construction union Ucatt general secretary Steve Murphy strongly condemned the government's onslaught against health and safety regulations.
He protested that the cuts had "made work more dangerous and reduced the possibility of compensation for workers injured at work."
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady commented: "It's sensible to look at whether regulations are still needed or can be simplified from time to time.
"But this government is going way beyond that to attack worker and consumer rights.
"Stripping self-employed workers of health and safety protection - when construction is riddled with bogus self-employment scams - will make injuries more likely.
"And removing any obligation on employers to protect their staff from sexual and racial harassment by customers sends a very clear signal whose side the government
Ms O'Grady argued that the real problems facing small businesses arose from the slow economic recovery caused by austerity and the continuing failure of the banks to lend.
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