Monday, March 14, 2005

How To Encourage Business

I was talking a year or two back to a chap who has a couple of small engineering businesses in the area, and asked him how the enormous increases in employers liability insurance, fuelled by the compensation culture, were affecting him.

He told me that, in common with perhaps 200,000 other small firms, he was operating without any. When I raised a metaphorical eyebrow at this (it's a legal requirement for any business other than a sole trader), he told me that the cost of cover was so high as to make the business uneconomic - it was a case of either running without cover or closing the company.

I thought of this when a correspondent brought this story to my attention - another classic from Scallyland.

A teenage boy who fell through a roof while he was trespassing on private property has received £567,000 in compensation.

Carl Murphy, now 18, sued the owner of a warehouse after suffering serious head injuries when he plunged 40ft to the floor as a nine-year-old in 1996.

Victims of crime groups yesterday reacted angrily to the payout, which is 50 times more than the family of a murder victim can expect to receive from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

He's receiving the compensation because the head injuries he sustained have caused him to behave an a most uncharacteristic fashion for a young Merseysider from a good home.

Mr Murphy is currently living with his grandmother because his mother Diane and her boyfriend, Kevin Parsons, both 36, are serving three years in prison for setting up a heroin and crack cocaine business from their council house.

He was expelled from his primary school in Bootle within a week of returning after the accident, given a home tutor, but that ended when he threatened her with violence. He missed ten months of school before being enrolled at Nugent House, Billinge, a school for children with behavioural problems, in November 1998, but was expelled 18 months later.

It's obvious that the blame for this behaviour lies with Container Care of Bootle, who failed to provide fencing capable of keeping out a young Liverpudlian.

I saw the local businessman again a month or so ago, and was pleased to hear that he will no longer be operating a UK factory without the mandatory insurance cover. He's moving production to China.

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