The prime minister has backed a business-led blueprint to pare back “red tape” stemming from the EU, just weeks after the European Commission announced a major programme of regulatory reform and a review of all health and safety directives.

The taskforce of six senior business people set out 30 recommendations they said would help the EU “lead the way towards economic recovery”. Their report, Cut EU red tape, singled out “pointless legislation” for the chop, including giving European governments the flexibility to decide whether to exempt low-risk businesses from keeping written risk assessments.

Meanwhile, the Commission announced it would shelve proposed directives on musculoskeletal disorders and health and safety in hairdressing. Further directives on environmental tobacco smoke and carcinogens and mutagens are also off the cards.

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