Tories accused over review of safety laws

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The Independent Online
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DIRECTORS of companies that make large donations to the Conservative Party have been given positions of influence in the Government's review of costly health and safety regulations, Labour claimed yesterday.

Frank Dobson, Labour's employment spokesman, said a survey of membership of the Government's 'deregulation taskforces' revealed senior positions being taken by people from companies linked to the Tory party.

Half the members of the taskforce looking into regulations in the construction industry came from substantial Tory funders: Christopher Spackman, chairman of Bovis, which gave pounds 670,000 from 1984 to 1992; Bernard Rimmer, general manager of Slough Estates, which gave pounds 251,500; Peter Hulmes from McAlpine, which gave pounds 95,000; and Peter Warry, head of the building products division of Norcros, which paid pounds 74,500. The engineering taskforce is led by Malcolm Bates, deputy chief of GEC, which gave pounds 100,000 from 1980 to 1988. Duncan Black, director of Swire & Sons, chairs the transport and communications taskforce.

Mr Dobson said: 'Having bankrupted the country and bankrupted themselves, the Tories are now scrabbling around selling influence to the highest bidder. The Tory guiding principle is 'a cheque in the post brings a change in the law'. They've gone from Citizen's Charter to Cowboy's Charter.'

Labour is putting its weight behind a campaign led by the GMB union to preserve the regulations, which they say are essential to the health and safety of workers.