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Contractors v Lobbyists: Will all the deaths inquiry's demands survive the Govt chopping block?

When she first started working on the construction deaths inquiry, Rita Donaghy admitted she did not want her report to be “just another paper gathering dust”.

She said that while she couldn’t change the world with one inquiry, she at least wanted to make a dent. As big a dent as possible.

Rita last month handed her blood, sweat and tears over to secretary of state Yvette Cooper, who now has until “later this year” to give her response.

It will be primarily in the Government’s response that we are able to really judge how successful this inquiry has been - for the industry and lobbyists alike.

While many of the recommendations made in the report stem from ideas that have already been floated in the past, if a daring Government were to pick them all up and run with an unedited document then it truly would - as Ucatt puts it - “transform the way the industry is organised”.

But it would be a daring Government, in the current climate, to add extra layers of regulatory burden on contractors. And if the report is picked up unedited by Ms Cooper then it would mean extra costs for them too, which I don’t imagine anyone would be too happy about.

Then, on the other hand, the newly-promoted Ms Cooper has a lot of pressure on her to stamp her mark on her new role and prove a stickler for construction safety issues. The report is now on the agenda of Coniac’s board meeting next week.

The meeting, however, has been closed to anyone not on the panel.

It is an unusual move (our sources say they can’t remember the last time a Coniac meeting was closed to the public) which suggests there could well be some heated debated over the document.

But will it, once everyone has said their piece, be just another paper gathering dust? Well, that’s up to Ms Cooper now…

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