Nov 19 2012
David Cameron has pledged to make Government work faster by streamlining equality rules and legal red tape.
The Prime Minister said opponents of planning decisions and policies would be given less time to apply for judicial review, face higher fees and see the chances to appeal halved.
He also said Equality Impact Assessments would no longer be compulsory, and consultation periods would be slashed.
Speaking at the CBI conference in central London, Mr Cameron said judicial review had become a "massive growth industry" which was delaying action and costing taxpayers too much money.
"We urgently needed to get a grip on this. So here's what we're going to do: reduce the time limit when people can bring cases; charge more for reviews - so people think twice about time-wasting," he said. "And instead of giving hopeless cases up to four bites of the cherry to appeal a decision, we will halve that to two."
Mr Cameron said the Equality Act was "not a bad piece of legislation", but he added: "In Government we have taken the letter of this law and gone way beyond it, with Equality Impact Assessments for every decision we make.
"Let me be very clear. I care about making sure that Government policy never marginalises or discriminates. I care about making sure we treat people equally. But let's have the courage to say it - caring about these things does not have to mean churning out reams of bureaucratic nonsense.
"We have smart people in Whitehall who consider equalities issues while they're making the policy. We don't need all this extra tick-box stuff. So I can tell you today, we are calling time on Equality Impact Assessments. You no longer have to do them if these issues have been properly considered."
Mr Cameron said that too often ministers announce policies which then get bogged down in Whitehall red tape. He added: "When we came to power there had to be a three-month consultation on everything - and I mean everything, no matter how big or small.
"So we are saying to ministers: here's a revolutionary idea - you decide how long a consultation period this actually needs. If you can get it done properly in a fortnight - great. And we are going further, saying: if there is no need for a consultation, then don't have one."