Justice secretary Chris Grayling (pictured) has been keen to portray himself as a champion of small businesses struggling to fend off the greedy ambulance-chasers. His vehicle for doing so is the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill, which essentially protects business-owners from claims if they’ve ticked all the necessary boxes.
When the bill was debated in parliament in July, Grayling told MPs he wanted to ‘provide proper protection’ for small businesses, having talked to ‘countless business groups who tell me how the compensation culture is tying their business in knots’. Indeed, Grayling even assured opponents that ‘small businesses share the concerns’ he had been setting out.
But who are these mysterious businesses Grayling is so keen to protect? Obviously not members of the Forum of Private Business, or the Federation of Small Businesses. Nor indeed were they linked to the Confederation of British Industry or Institute of Directors.
All these business groups declined an invitation to appear before the justice committee last week to give their views on the bill.
According to a leaked memo from the House of Commons whips office, one group even ‘politely declined as they do not have anything to say on the issue and have no evidence base’.
It’s almost as if Grayling were seeking to justify legislation without approval from the very people he affects to support. Or perhaps the invitees were so busy fighting dodgy personal injury claims they did not have time to appear.