The government has announced changes to health and safety legislation that will cut the number of inspections of businesses.

In an effort to cut red tape, shops, offices, pubs and clubs will no longer face inspection while over 3,000 regulations will be scrapped or overhauled.

The plan means that businesses will only face health and safety inspections if they are operating in higher risk areas such as construction, or if they have an incident or a track record of poor performance.

The government intends to introduce these changes in April 2013.

Introducing the new measures, business secretary Vince Cable said: “In these tough times, businesses need to focus all their energies on creating jobs and growth, not being tied up in unnecessary red tape.”

New business minister Michael Fallon added that the plan would “bring common sense back to health and safety”.

The government also plans to introduce legislation to ensure businesses will only be held liable for civil damages in health and safety cases if they can be shown to have acted negligently. It hopes that this will put an end to situations where businesses can automatically be liable for damages even if they were not actually negligent. This new legislation is expected to be introduced next month.