Another Look Taken at Unfit Health and Safety Compensation Rules [28th Nov 2011]
New health and safety reforms could mean that workers will lose the right to sue their employer if they are hurt at work and it was their own fault. A study carried out by Kings College in London and commissioned by the government has found that current health and safety laws are being used to justify some legal cases and are becoming a financial burden on companies. The British Safety Council has also approved the changes as in some cases employers are being held liable for staff negligence. However the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has said that the current laws work and should remain in place. There are currently 200 rules in place under health and safety legislation and the report suggests that these are amalgamated and that this could tip the balance more in favour of the employer.
It has been recommended that the system used to compensate those affected by riots should be overhauled. The Riots, Communities and Victims Panel has released a report which details the cause of the recent riots across the country, how communities responded and ways of avoiding riots in the future. The report found that the Riot Damages Act needs to be reformed due to the length of time it has taken for compensation to be given to those affected. The authors expect that just half of those due compensation will have received it by next March and 90% of the 10 largest claims would still be waiting. The report also suggests that insurance companies need to speed up their processes for those homeowners and businesses claiming under their insurance.
Experts have suggested this week that potholes on UK roads are similar to those experienced in "third world" countries. A survey by the AA has found that UK roads are riddled with potholes which are causing a danger to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Edmund King from the AA has stated that likely colder temperatures expected in the coming weeks are likely to make the problem worse as the roads will start breaking up again. The survey showed that roads in Scotland were the worst in the UK with an average of 20 potholes per neighbourhood. It is also pointed out that while the councils may struggle to find the money to fix the potholes, the compensation bills which are likely to result from accidents and damage caused by them may be even more costly.
The Financial services Authority has identified another financial product which they describe as "toxic" and which could lead to losses by investors who could not claim compensation. The FSA have stated that they will be consulting on a ban on traded life policies as they find them to be high risk and toxic and unsuitable for most UK investors. Also known as death bonds, these products effectively bet on when US citizens will die and pay out more if they die earlier than expected. One example of this type of product were those offered by Keydata which was closed down in 2009 after breaking tax rules and becoming insolvent. Financial advisers have been warned to stop selling the products as they leave investors open to problems as they are based overseas. Those who fall foul of these investments may not be able to claim compensation under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme due to the fact they are regulated overseas. This makes them not suitable for UK investors.
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